Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Indriati Sihombing sat in silence, trying her best to contain her tears. In a matter of minutes, she was going to see the remains of her husband, Kornel Sihombing, one of victims who perished in the ill-fated Sukhoi Superjet 100 flight on May 9.
She had a hard time dealing with the fact that her husband was one of those who had died in the crash and refused to leave for Jakarta to seek additional details regarding the accident.
The 35-year-old woman chose to remain in Bandung, West Java, where she now lives with her two children. She was asked to visit the National Police Sukanto Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta, on Tuesday to check on the remains of her husband.
"She does not want to accept the fact that her husband died in the crash and today is the day when she started acknowledging that her husband had passed away,¿ Kornel's uncle Reinhard Sihombing told The Jakarta Post.
Reinhard said that shortly before arriving in Jakarta from Bandung, Indriati remained hopeful that her husband had survived the crash.
On Wednesday, Kornel's remains will be transported to Bandung after an official hand-over ceremony at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta. His body will be laid at the headquarters of the state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia, where he worked as head of its marketing division.
On Tuesday, Indriati joined dozens of family members of crash victims to see the remains of those who died in the accident.
A hall in the hospital was turned into a makeshift morgue where the National Police's Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) team put in 45 dark brown coffins for the victims' remains.
The DVI recommended that each family send no more than three people who had first spoken with a team of psychologists before entering the hall.
"The families themselves have to choose who will see the bodies. The psychologists will help them deal with the emotional trauma because what they will see inside the coffins will not be the same as the memories of their loved ones,¿ team member Johanes Rumeser said.
For some the shock was just too difficult to handle. Marisi Panggabean failed to maintain her composure after seeing the remains of her son. She fainted while meeting one of the psychologists.
When she regained consciousness after passing out several times, she screamed the name of her son Edward Maraden Panggabean. Edward was an Indo Asia airline employee.
Marisi finally agreed to bring her son's remains home and prepared a burial at the Pondok Kelapa cemetery in Bekasi, West Java.
The National Police announced on Sunday that all 45 people on board the Sukhoi Superjet 100, which crashed on May 9, had been identified.
Members of the National Police's DVI team confirmed that 31 of the victims were male and 14 were female.
Of the total victims, 35 were Indonesian citizens.
Some members of the victims' families were apparently not able to visit the remains of their loved ones.
Sutje Rompas said that her husband did not allow her to see the body of her daughter, Susana Famella Rompas, a Sky Aviation flight attendant.
"That's okay. He will be the one who will see Susana,¿ she said in a trembling voice.
"She was a very outgoing person. When the news about the accident broke, I received many calls from her friends. It is proof that my daughter was well liked,¿ she said.
Terry Rompas, Susana's father, returned from the hall not soon after. He confirmed that it was indeed her daughter inside the coffin, adding that Susana looked beautiful.
"What's important is that my wife's memories of our daughter will not be tainted by what she would have seen inside the coffin. Let my wife think of Susana as the lovely woman she used to be. As for me, I can handle it,¿ he said.
Terry broke down and cried after the last sentence.
The couple plans to bring Susana's body to the family's hometown in Luwuk Banggai regency, Central Sulawesi.
Susana was a finalist in the 2006 Putri Indonesia beauty pageant. In 2008, she was named North Sulawesi's Miss Tourism.
"I am so proud of my daughter. She was an achiever. Sofyan Mile, Luwuk Banggai's regent, will welcome her coffin when we arrive,¿ Terry said.
Not all of the Sukhoi victims' families had a hard time letting go of their loved ones.
Santi and Wignu Mughni came to the hospital with an air of calmness.
Santi, a sister of Anton Daryanto, a staff member of Indonesia Air Sport, explained that she had made peace with her brother's death.
After she returned from the hall she said that there was nothing else she could do. "I hope he is at peace now,¿ she added.