Yesterday, I had the most traumatic experience of my life, identifying my brother’s body after the motor vehicle accident that killed him last week. I knew it would be traumatic but I didn’t want my parents to have to do it. While it was the most horrific thing I’ve ever had to do, it was in some strange way also brought closure.

Our Bodies Are A Vessel

We all know this right? On a superficial level, we all know that our bodies are just the shells that house our souls. Kind of like hermit crabs, that abandon the shell they no longer need when it’s time to move on.

But I didn’t fully comprehend on a conscious level what this meant until I saw my brother’s body yesterday. When they pulled back the blind for me to identify him, I was wholly unprepared for the sight that would greet me and it’s not because his face was severely damaged from the accident, it wasn’t. It was just not him. It was a shell. An empty vessel. I had to look at individual features to identify him because if I looked at the face staring back at me, it wasn’t him. He was gone. The very essence of who he was, was simply no longer there. He has moved on, like a hermit crab, he had abandoned his shell.

There Is Acceptance In Seeing The Body

I know that must sound so horrifically morbid but it’s true. After I got over the shock of seeing my brother’s empty vessel, it’s like something in my brain clicked and my mind was able to accept that he is gone so the denial phase of my grief seems to have passed now. I know he’s gone, I’ve accepted he is gone and he is not coming back.

Identifying the body of a loved one is still not something I’d ever want anyone to have to go through. It will remain as one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I will forever be haunted by what I saw there, but I am glad that through that shocking experience, I am able to also find some peace.

I am determined to have restoration with my brother in his death. I will honour his life and the relationship I wish we’d had by talking about him, by doing the hard things, like identifying his body and speaking as his memorial, and by caring for our elderly parents.

My brother just know that no matter how hard our relationship was, you are loved. By me.

I blog because writing helps me grieve.