The parents of Lin Jun took part in an emotional and often tearful public memorial on Saturday, as Montreal's Chinese community gathered to remember the student two months after he was brutally killed.
Mr. Lin's mother, Zhigui Du, gave a heart-wrenching address at a Montreal church. At times she showed remarkable resolve as she stood at the pulpit, and other times weeped uncontrollably as she recalled her only son.
"He was taken so fast," Ms. Du said in Mandarin, and an interpreter translated into French.
"When a child dies, a parent's heart dies too."
Friends of Mr. Lin and members of Montreal's tight-knit Chinese community were among those at the church service in a quiet city suburb. Others with no connection said they decided to attend to show their support to their family.
Mr. Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese national studying in Montreal, was killed and dismembered two months ago in a gruesome case that shocked people around the world. Luka Rocco Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to several charges in connection with Lin's death, including a count of first-degree murder.
In her lengthy address at the church, Ms. Du said her only son loved Canada, and was a peaceful man "who loved people and animals." Ms. Du also spoke of the evolution of her own faith, and said she had found some solace since getting baptized in Montreal last week.
"Today, we pray for peace in Montreal," she said, thanking the local congregation for helping organize the memorial.
"It's because of you that the community was brought together."
Ms. Du and her husband, Daran Lin, have been staying in Montreal since last month. Local community groups have helped find them with translation services and finding them a place to stay.
Mr. Lin was a computer science student at Concordia University, and the school has raised more than $70,000 in Mr. Lin's name to support his family and Chinese students.
Angela Huang, a recent graduate of Concordia who helps Chinese immigrants adapt to the city, was one of several dozen young Chinese Montrealers to attend the ceremony. Ms. Huang said she and her friends are still trying to come to grips with what happened.
"The fact that somebody so close to me is a victim of this kind of event..." she said outside the church.
"I worry about the whole city because somebody like him — the killer — actually does exist."
Pastor Thomas Chan said the killing was a tragedy not only for the Lin family, but for all of Montreal and Canada.
"It would be irresponsible to look for quick answers, and try to give the Lin family a quick fix," he said in a sermon.
A private funeral has been scheduled for Mr. Lin next Thursday in Montreal.