Getting a phone call that there is a possible match to a loved one and that you must go to the mortuary can be a chilling call to receive. If you have a loved one who has been missing or that has lost touch with the family they may be heavy on your mind when you go to the mortuary for this identification. If you are the person being called to make the possible identification of a friend or loved one, you will need to prepare yourself. This includes taking some things with you. Here are three items that you should bring to the mortuary.
Several recent photographs
If at all possible, you should find the latest set of photographs that you have in order to identify someone. People can change their hair color and any major loss or gain in weight may give you a reason to pause. Being able to show recent photographs may allow the coroner or law enforcement to make an identification so that you do not have to. If a crime was committed, the pictures may also be helpful for the police.
Make a list of identifying markers
Most people will have a unique identifying marker or two. Tattoos are a major identification marker and are one way that a body can be easily identified. Along with tattoos, birthmarks are often unique and easy to spot on the body. If your loved one has many earrings, certain rings that they purchase, or special dental work such as gold teeth, these can be identified on the body and can help make an identification. Having these details with you can also bring back memories of the person overall, which will help you recall their overall look. If you have the person's passport, id, or fingerprint information, this is also helpful information to have on you.
Bring a supporter
Although you may be the person who will be making the positive identification, you may need support. Instead of going alone, you should bring a support person along with you. They can help drive you home or assist the mortuary if you are too weak to deal with it after making the identification. Having a friend or family member to drive you back will also give you the opportunity to begin making calls while in the car to the loved ones and family who need to know that the person passed away.