The BBC shared a beautiful and heartbreaking story about two Japanese men who took up deep sea diving, with the sole intention of finding the bodies of one’s wife and the other’s daughter, who disappeared following the Tsunami over four years ago.
“I want to search for my daughter as long as my body allows me to. If I just give up, there’s zero chance. If I keep searching, I might have a chance at least.”
Takamatsu feels the same way. “I want to continue my search as long as my strength lasts, even though the chances of finding her are slim. I know that she has already passed away, but I don’t want her to be left alone under the sea.
“Honestly, I still want to find her and bring her home.”
The presence of a body at a funeral, or the ability to bury or cremate a loved ones means different things to different families, often influenced by the manner in which a death occurred. While there certainly has been a trend in recent years which has seen more “direct” cremations- where a cremation takes place without any services- it’s not as universally true as many people believe.
Another striking example was those who lost loved ones in the September 11 Terrorist Attacks. Many families felt they would not have closure until their loved one was returned to them. Some families wanted to be notified each time a personal item or body part was identified. Other families felt the regular notifications were too painful and didn’t want to be contacted until identification efforts were completed.
Of course, the only right answer to the question of whether the body should be present at services is the one that’s right for your family and desires. In our “pics or it didn’t happen” culture, there are many people who need a certain amount of reality in order to absorb and accept that a loss has occurred. Many find great comfort when a loved one who suffered from illness or accident is ‘restored’ to a state more like the way you’d want to remember them.
Talk to your family about your wishes and theirs. Crisis is not the time to start the discussion.