Post-Mortem photos were often taken when a loved one, especially a child, died. Often it would be the only photo a parent had of a beloved son or daughter.
The deceased would be dressed in their best clothes and carefully propped or placed, either alone or with the rest of the family, to appear alive. Often the deceased appeared to be sleeping.
We may find it morbid but it was customary. Many cultures also took photos of the deceased in their coffin.
You may view an exhibit of such photos at The Strangest Tradition of the Victorian Era: Post-Mortem Photography