It was October 5, at 5:50am. I was in the shower, getting ready to go to work, when I heard my wife speaking loudly on the phone. I knew something was wrong. My wife normally never wakes up before 7:00, as she only begins work at 9:00...
I stepped out of the shower, put on a bathrobe, and walked into the bedroom. My wife was in a panic, talking loudly on the phone in her native Mandarin (she is Chinese). I didn't understand a word, but I knew something was wrong. The conversation ended, and she looked at me in shock and said in a low voice, "my mother was stabbed". It's like a hammer fell from the sky. Just two weeks ago, my mother in law attended our wedding. I remember her grabbing hold of my hand at the table and telling me "look after my daughter" right before she went home. And then this happened...
What? How? Who? Was she robbed? Was it intentional?
My wife told me it was her Aunt's Husband. He waited for her outside her home and stabbed her. Her uncle, the mother's brother, had found her in a pool of blood and called the police. She was being carried away as he called her to let her know. I tried consoling my wife. I told her how my brother got stabbed a few years ago at a bar, and how he survived to tell the tale. I told her that statistically, most stab wounds are not fatal and I'm sure her mother will be ok.
Oh how I regret telling her that... I still feel I may have jinxed it. 5 minutes later, the phone rang again. Same uncle this time, crying loudly over the phone. I again had to wait for the 2 minute phone talk to end, and my wife paused for 5 seconds before my wife let out the loudest, coldest, ear piercing scream that made my soul shiver... She collapsed, crying and crying. Banging the floor, hitting her head on the side of the bed.
I remember distinctly grabbing my wife. I remember holding her and wrapping her with all my strength, in a wrestle that lasted well over a minute. I was not letting her move. I was not letting her kick. I remember telling myself: Don't let her hurt herself. Don't let her hurt herself. Don't let her bang anything... by god... what the hell?!
I tried to make sense of what she was saying...what happened?...
HER BODY!... SHE ISN'T IN HOSPITAL.... SHE ISN'T IN HOSPITAL!!!!
Where is she?! I yelled back...
AT THE MORGUE!!!! MY MOTHER... MY MOTHER... MUMMY... SHE IS GONE!
"Oh my love.... I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry... I'm so sorry.... How?...." These little whispers I managed to release as I was trying to calm her down, still in the wrestle of pain and anguish. I began crying as well... Manly as I normally am, seeing my wife in that state crushed me to a state of absolute nether.
Finally, as she calmed down, more phone calls began raining in. Condolences, questions, explanations. After a few hours, it had become more clear. It was night time in China. Her mother had gone to visit her sister's, when an argument about money broke out. The sister's husband claimed she owed them money... $2000 it appears. My mother in law claimed to have already repaid, but the husband disagreed.
My mother in law ended up leaving that night after the argument, and returned home to make some dinner. Little did she know, her sister's husband followed her home with a meat cleaver. She opened her door to grab some corn stored outside for her dinner meal she was preparing when she got hit. First strike. Second strike, 3rd strike... all the to the face. The murderer wasn't stopping. He slashed and slashed away at her face, to the point where she became unrecognisable. One of the strikes hit the throat. A jugular was cut, and blood began spewing. Neighbours reported hearing a single scream, but didn't think much of it... She was alone.
Eventually, once the man calmed down, he realised he was going to be sentenced to death for this (the legal penalty for murder in China). He climbed to the top of the building and entered the public balcony. From there, he jumped and committed suicide, choosing to go his way rather than face the trial and the shame of seeing the loved ones left behind.
It took us 2 days to arrange for a Visa for me to fly to China with my wife and arrange the funeral. My wife wanted to see her mother's body, but at the coroner's advice, I convinced her not to. I told her how her mother would not want her to remember her that way, and how she would want her to move on. We decided to cremate the body.
It has been 3 weeks since the murder, and I still recall everything as it happened. My wife's joy of life has vanished. She accepts her mother is gone, but she can't seem to move on. Every day she cries. Every day she says how she misses calling her mother. We are newly weds, and she still feels like a kid. She used to speak to her mother every day, and now she can't. We began seeking professional help. Anti-depressants, psychological support, time off work... but nothing seems to fix it. That night, the murderer didn't only kill my mother in law. He killed my wife's soul as well, and thereby mine in the process. I can't stand seeing her like this.