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Funeral is held for a ferry victim family in 53 days

Posted June. 09, 2014 03:14,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00


The portraits of his father, brother, and mother were placed side by side at the funeral home of Severance Hospital in Shinchon, Seoul, on Sunday. In the entrance was a family picture in which his mom and brother were holding hands and smiling. The chief mourner was a seven-year-old boy, Cho Yo-sep. The white shirt that he borrowed from the funeral home was too big for the little boy. He ran around among the mourners with his elementary school cousin. When adults were wearing suits in the morning, he asked, “Are we going to a wedding?” He believed what adults said – his mother, father and brother went to a “better place.”

The funeral parlor for his father Cho Chung-hwan, 44, his mother Ji Hye-jin, 44, and his brother, Cho Ji-hwan, 11, who died in the sunken ferry Sewol was prepared on Saturday, 53 days after the accident. After his father’s body was finally found on June 5, all of his family gathered in one place. The bodies of his brother and mother were found and moved from Jindo, South Jeolla Province, in April, and had been stored in the mortuary of Severance Hospital. Ji Seong-jin, 47, the boy’s uncle, said, “I didn’t know how long I should leave my sister and nephew in the cold mortuary if I fail to find my brother-in-law’s body. Now, I thank for finding him.”

The boy’s family was on a family trip along with his father who was going on a business trip to Jeju Island. He was saved from the disaster as he got out of the passengers’ room where his family was staying, and was playing near the deck alone after having breakfast.

The funeral parlor was calm. Relatives who had stayed in Jindo for a long time welcomed mourners. Reporters and government officials who shared their suffering in Jindo visited to express their condolences. The relatives who waited for almost two months after the tragic accident thanked for finding the bodies of their family. Ji said, “I was able to leave Jindo finally after finding my brother-in-law. When leaving for Seoul, I thanked Kim Seok-gyun, head of the National Coast Guard. He shed tears, saying, ‘You’re the first one who says so.’” Ji added, “Rather than blaming somebody, I want to let my sister’s family go peacefully. Yo-sep doesn’t understand what death is, but he will know it as time passes by.”