AFTER DEATH WHAT DO WE DO?
Road Trauma Team
You will need to decide if you wish to see the body. Some who do not do this regret later
that they did not do so. Relatives or officials may advise you about this, but do not let
other people make up your mind for you.
Those bereaved by road crashes often seem to want to know details about how the
tragedy occurred and worry later if they do not know quite how it happened. You may
want to ask about this.
You will have to arrange the funeral. An undertaker will usually be able to advise you
about arrangements that you need to make. A useful leaflet published by the
Department of Social Security is available and can be obtained from any local office. It is
called 'What to do after a death' (Publication Number 049).
A post-mortem is necessary to determine the cause of death. Accidental death normally
involves a post-mortem followed by a full inquest after the police enquiries have been
completed. This process can take a considerable time.
Try to express your feelings; it can help a lot to cry. Do talk about what has happened;
it will help to do so, though others may be shy about raising the subject with you. Just
holding someone, cuddling up or being in someone's arms can help all those concerned
Try to be patient with others. People may be tactless when they really meant to help.
Many people are afraid of death and will stay away even when you felt they should have
been around. People may expect you to be 'over it' much too soon; this can be hurtful
Your partner may seem depressed or angry when you feel just the opposite. One person
may want affection, or sex, when the other wants to be let alone.
Bereavement does not affect everyone in the same way. Be as sympathetic as you can.
Children may need help too. Do not try too hard to shield your feelings and encourage
them to express theirs .
But allow yourself time to think thing~ through and to express your own grief - in private
if you wish. Do not be afraid to look outside your immediate family for help and for
comfort. Friends, relatives, your doctor or the church can all help at such times.
Be careful on the roads yourself and take care at home too; it has been shown that
those who are bereaved are more likely to have accidents.
If after a reasonable time has gone by, which could be a year or year and a half, you still
do not feel able to cope with everyday affairs, you may be in need of more professional
People who have lost someone through a traffic accident do not 'get over it', but they can
learn to cope again.
There will be bad days when sad memories reappear. Christmas and anniversaries can
be particularly painful times, but there will come a time when the happy times are
remembered and the joys which you had will arise in your mind and not just the sadness.
Try to let happiness in - it is not being disloyal to do so.
You may meet other people because of your loss whom you come to like - perhaps
because of a similar shared experience. Some find it helpful to use the knowledge they
have acquired to benefit others.
You will never forget the person you have lost, but you will 'come through it' in due time.
Your life may seem to have a deeper meaning. Do al1 you can personally to achieve
this; and do seek help from others when you need it.