Wife forgives student whose suicide took her husband’s life

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Wife forgives student whose suicide took her husband’s life

The cremation ceremony of the civil servant from Gokseong County, South Jeolla, who died after a college student who had failed his civil service exam leaped from an apartment building and landed on him, was held in Buk District, Gwangju on Friday.

The grade seven civil servant, Yang Dae-jin, 39, was walking home from a bus stop with wife, who is eight months pregnant, and his 6-year-old son when the depressed student fell on him on Tuesday. The student died immediately from a fractured skull and the victim was sent to a nearby hospital but died a few hours later.

“The college student who committed suicide is another victim of our mercilessly competitive society,” said the 53-year-old uncle of the widowed wife, surnamed Seo. “So we have decided to forgive him.”

According to the uncle, the family of the student attended the funeral on Wednesday. “The father and the older brother of the student expressed grief and apologized,” said the uncle. “But because both families were shocked at the sudden death of their family members, we didn’t get a chance to talk more.”

When asked more about the student, Seo added, “I heard he was preparing for the civil servant examination … The family must be also going through a hard time from the loss of their beloved one. I can’t imagine how it would feel like to lose my son so suddenly. Yang’s wife went through a lot, but she finally decided to forgive the student.”

Seo said that the family read from the news that the student’s family was suffering financially and so she decided not to seek compensation from them. Yang’s family will visit the student’s family on Saturday to express their condolences.

“The student’s family has also been victimized since they lost their son,” continued Seo. “We won’t ask for compensation.”

When the coffin storing Yang’s body was removed from the hearse at 10:30 p.m., the guests at the cremation site began to weep. Yang’s wife, who wore a black mourning dress, wailed over her husband’s coffin.

As the coffin entered the cremation room, four to five members of the family, including the wife, started crying harder and held on to the coffin. They seemed barely capable of standing by themselves.

Yang’s colleagues also quietly shed tears. Yoo Geun-gi, the chief of Gokseong, took out his handkerchief and wiped tears from his eyes.
After an hour, Yang’s corpse was fully cremated and the remains were enshrined in the cemetery at Hyoryeon-dong, Buk District, Gwangju.

Yang was working at the public relations department of Gokseong County Office and he was on the forefront of publicizing Gokseong. He devised various ideas to promote the county after the release of a Korean thriller, “Wailing” (2016), which was titled Gokseong in Korean. The film was shot at locations in the county and has been seen by over 5 million people. Yang received an award for his efforts in promoting the film on behalf of Gokseong, his wife’s home county.


BY KIM HO, SHIN SOO-YEON [shin.sooyeon@joongang.co.kr]

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