They were always aware that their loved ones might not come home alive.
But confirmation from Israeli generals that the coffins did contain the remains of the soldiers finally snuffed out what one family member described as a glimmer of hope.
And while they celebrated in Lebanon, it was a different story for the family and friends of the two captured army reservists in Israel.
The brother of Eldad Regev, Eyal, said: “This deal involves a very painful price. On the other hand, we must be proud of the decision made by the State of Israel to bring back Eldad and Ehud. It was Israel’s moral obligation.”
When the Israeli cabinet voted on Tuesday to approve the exchange, there were three dissenting voices, unhappy that the country was trading prisoners for soldiers’ bodies.
But for those waiting at home, it is an act which has brought to an end two years of agonising uncertainty, giving them a chance to grieve once and for all.