The parents of Jun Lin 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.
Lin's mother, Zhigui Du, gave a heart-wrenching address at the Montreal Chinese Alliance Church in Hampstead. 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," Du said in Mandarin, and an interpreter translated into French.
"When a child dies, a parent's heart dies too."
Earlier this week Du and Lin's father, Diran Lin, spoke to CBC about the heartbreaking loss of their only son.
Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese national, was killed and dismembered sometime between May 24 and May 25. He was a full-time student at Concordia University when he was killed.
Friends of Lin and members of Montreal's tight-knit Chinese community were among those at the church service Hampstead, in a quiet suburb in Montreal's west end.
Organizers said the memorial was a time for Lin's friends and family to pray for peace. Others with no connection said they decided to attend to show their support to their family.
In her lengthy address at the church, Du said her only son loved Canada, and was a peaceful man "who loved people and animals." 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."
Du and her husband have been in Montreal since last month. Local community groups have helped with translation services and finding them a place to stay.
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. 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 his sermon at the Saturday service.
More than $70,000 has been raised in Lin's name to support his family and Chinese students at Concordia University.
Luka Rocco Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to several charges in connection with Lin's death — including first-degree murder, committing an indignity to a human body, posting obscene material, mailing obscene material and criminal harassment of Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament.
Magnotta was extradited from Germany after an international manhunt tracked him down at an internet café in Berlin.