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My mother in law stabbed to death

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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?... 


Where is she?! I yelled back... 


"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.

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Oh my goodness, Spindera, how tragic for you all.  I am so deeply sorry for your wife’s loss.  Sadly, nothing will fix your wife, but you’re giving her the right support she needs to help cope with it, and she will need that support for a very long time to come.  Getting through just one minute, or one hour at a time,  is the best advice I can give.  It’s all we can do to survive when grief is so fresh, especially when our loved one was taken in a sudden and violent manner. 

My partner was killed as he walked on the footpath, by an out of control driver 21 months ago, and life is still very tough. 

I hope you and your wife have good friends and family to support you - you really will need it.  Shock will help cushion her grief for a while, maybe months, but when that starts wearing off and reality starts setting in, grief can get more difficult to bear for quite some time.   Everyone grieves in their own individual manner, and in their own time.  It fair batters our mind, body and soul. 

I’m glad you found the forum.  This section doesn’t get many posters but I’m sure the Loss of a Parent section does so you might like to post in there as well.  

Again, I am so sorry for your loss.  Please know you and your wife are in my thoughts.

Sending you strength, love and hugs. XX

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Thank you for your kind reply. Speaking about it helps. I tried avoiding it in the beginning, thinking it will bring us unwanted attention. But attention seems to be what we are most lacking at the moment. My wife has the luck to still have a loving father (who divorced her mother 15 years ago), and she has stayed with him. She will likely remain for the next few months until she gets a sense of normalcy.

I had to return to work. One of us had to keep paying the bills after all... but everything seems surreal. The hardest part is that Halloween is just around the corner, and people are dressing up all over the place. It's especially hard now when I see teenagers dress as Zombies with knifes through the throat or head... it brings back all the sad memories. I used to be one of those kids once. I used to enjoy the glorification and making fun of violent death, just like the rest of society. 

It's not until something tragic happens, that we begin understanding what it's like.

I would also like to send you my kindest thoughts in return. I have lost loved ones before, but never to anything that was not a natural cause. The fact the loss is caused by someone else's actions makes everything so much worse. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you to lose the one closest to you.

My deepest thoughts, love and gratitude.

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I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother-in-law and the way she died.  Grief in itself is a bitter pill to swallow and those who have lost a loved one due to natural causes may not understand all the complexities of a loss from a murder.  The event is unbelievable, unexpected, tragic and a crime, all at once with its own deeper level of denial and shock.  I'm glad she has you to lean on; help her find constructive ways to let her anger out and that it's OK to be angry.  A horrible injustice has been done to her and her family. 

I can only imagine that murder is especially horrifying because another person’s actions took an innocent life. The idea that the tragic loss of a loved one can be determined by another person’s decision is devastating. It can also be incomprehensible that the perpetrator was a family member.  The shock of losing someone to murder takes hold immediately and leaves family members totally bewildered.

I wish I could say that it gets easier but I don't think so.  Sometimes allowing oneself to cry might be the scariest thing to do, and the bravest.  It takes a lot of courage to face the facts of what happened, stare loss in the face, are your heart and let it bleed.  But it is also the only way to cleanse your wounds and prepare them for healing.   I believe God will take of the rest.  Know that my prayers are with you both.


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First of all let me say I'm sorry for your loss and your family's loss when it comes to losing somebody you never hope to lose a loved one in such a barbaric way I know this first-hand. I got a call this past July at 1 in the morning at work telling me that my brother might have committed suicide well in a frantic I left the mill and drove to his house only to find about 30 cop cars and a SWAT team there it seems that either his son or his wife shot him in the chest that night God Only Knows Why I spent hours at the police station answering questions that had nothing to do with me and the next day when I went there to his house to help secure the property after the SWAT team destroyed it by breaking out all the windows all the doors and the wall I walked in to an absolute bloody mess there was blood all over the house blood all over the kitchen blood in the shower where somebody cleaned up keep in mind I was told that he committed suicide in his bedroom and never left the bed! So explain to me the blood all over the house gunshots in the house through walls stuff like that well the coroner's office declared it a homicide and you believe even with that the Town Police still refuse to investigate my brother's murder! They say he committed suicide and that's the end of the story even though all the evidence points to murder and the coroner's report clearly states homicide they refuse to do anything about it. The bottom line is law enforcement doesn't care less about any of us or our families but believe me if it was their loved one that was stabbed to death or shot to death baby crying for help

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