Preparing for the worst

Hostage International can support you with these matters through our Family and Hostage Support ServiceContact us to learn more.

It can be difficult to prepare for the worst, and you should always maintain hope until you have positive proof that your loved one will not be coming home. If the worst does happen, the following scenarios may help you to prepare:


If your loved one has died and their body has been recovered, you will need to prepare for them to be returned home. Most governments will organise this, and you can ask to be at the arrival if you want to. You should tell your government contact of any special arrangements you would like to be made – perhaps according to the wishes of your loved one, or cultural or religious beliefs. You can also discuss with them who will be present and any support you require for this. Once your loved one’s body has been released, you can make arrangements for their funeral or burial service.


In some cases, it is not possible to recover your loved one’s body. This can be very distressing. If this happens, the hostage’s government can help you to obtain a death certificate, which will be needed to begin to get the hostage’s affairs in order. You may also want to consider legal advice. Some families find it helpful to arrange a memorial service for their loved one. Others have been compelled to visit places that were special to their loved one as a way of being close to them and beginning the grieving process.


In a small number of cases, a hostage is presumed dead but there is no positive proof, such as a photo or DNA evidence. This can be very difficult for families. While you might accept the death of your loved one, it can be difficult to move on without this evidence. This can affect your ability to grieve.



Losing someone you love or care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never go away. These are not surprising reactions to a significant loss.

Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experiences, your faith and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to unfold. Do not feel like you have to go on it alone, lean on family, friends, peers and we are here for you at Hostage International.


Hostage International can support you with these matters through our Family and Hostage Support ServiceContact Us to learn more.