“Dad, I’m going out” have been the final phrases Jung Hae-moon heard his daughter utter, on the finish of a chat they’d on the phone on Saturday as she turned down an invite to dinner.
Hours later, 30-year-old Jung Joo-hee was amongst 156 individuals, most of them of their teenagers and twenties, killed within the South Korean capital whereas celebrating Halloween freed from COVID restrictions for the primary time in three years.
On Thursday, the younger girl’s household buried her ashes in a peaceable household plot outdoors Seoul, with a planted sapling and bouquets by her grave stone and a sombre ceremony of prayers and tears.
“Relaxation properly. Mum and pa will come see you,” Jung Hae-moon stated because the household stood by, collectively along with his daughter’s pet poodle.
As information of the catastrophe unfolded on Saturday, Jung Hae-moon dashed to Itaewon, a district of slender streets filled with bars and boutiques, to be met with chaos as distraught kids milled about of their Halloween costumes and rows of ambulances collected victims.
Greater than 12 hours later, he discovered Joo-hee in a morgue, lifeless, swollen and bruised.
Joo-hee’s mom, Lee Hyo-sook, stated her daughter was a delight, a finest buddy who cherished animals and wine.
“The area she leaves is simply too large. The place she left within the household is an excessive amount of, the vacancy,” Lee informed Reuters after the funeral, talking at a restaurant that Joo-hee ran.
The cafe is closed with an indication in black studying: “In mourning.”
The anguish of Joo-hee’s household is being felt by all the 156 bereaved households as a conventional three-day wake involves an finish and their cherished one is positioned in a coffin to be seen for the final time earlier than burial or cremation.
Their grief is being shared by the nation as an entire struggling to return to phrases with the catastrophe that ended so many younger lives on what ought to have been a night of enjoyable.
Of the 156 lifeless, 101 have been feminine, the federal government stated.
One other grieving father, Tune Jae-woong, stated his daughter, Younger-ju, 24, was a mild soul who was fast to befriend classmates, greater than 200 of whom got here to her funeral.
Younger-ju had dreamed of turning into an actress, her father stated, talking at a funeral residence in Seoul.
“Then, issues turned out like this,” Tune stated.
“Her associates informed me that my daughter had a behavior of looking for out and befriending anybody. She had a form soul.”
“It’s throughout now.”
Some households had no thought their youngsters have been even within the crowd within the Itaewon leisure district on Saturday night.
“I had no thought she was there. It was unimaginable, I couldn’t consider it,” Lim’s father stated at a funeral residence as he and his household noticed funeral rites.
The daddy requested that he and his daughter be recognized by simply their household identify, Lim.
The person often lives overseas and had not seen their solely little one for 3 years as COVID disrupted journey. He first heard of the catastrophe when an acquaintance despatched him a textual content message about it, with neither understanding the daughter was caught up in it.
Battling grief, he pulled out his phone to indicate the message.
“She was so inventive and fairly,” the person stated, including that he had usually strolled along with his daughter via Itaewon. He used to park their automotive on the Hamilton Lodge subsequent to the alley the place Lim died.
“I do know that avenue very properly.”
For a lot of dad and mom, anger is seething with the grief.
They surprise why their youngsters have been celebrating Halloween within the first place, a completely overseas idea for older Koreans.
However the greatest query for a lot of of these mourning their youngsters is why no security measures have been enforced to regulate the group.
“I’m past offended. It’s outrageous as a result of in any emergency scenario, the nation ought to defend its individuals and preserve them secure,” stated Lee, the mom of Joo-hee.