FREMONT -- Their son and only child was everything to them, the grieving parents said Sunday afternoon. And when he died they died too, only to be resurrected by their faith, family and friends.
"You see, we are dead ourselves. Time does not exist," Charlie Wang said to a few hundred people who had gathered at Harbor Light Church to remember his late son, Weihan "David" Wang. After a pause, the mourning father added, "I don't think our son would want us to succumb to this."
Late last month, a young, disturbed man armed with knives and handguns, killed six students from the University of California at Santa Barbara and wounded several more.
One of the fatal victims was Wang's 20-year-old son, David, who died in the apartment he shared with the killer and another Bay Area victim, Cheng Yuan "James" Hong of San Jose. Also killed in the apartment was George Chen of San Jose, who was visiting that night.
As mourners filed into the spacious, modern sanctuary of the Assemblies of God church, many of them stopped by a table in front to see old photographs of the Wangs together, a basketball David brought to the church's school every day and a picture book he wrote in Spanish about his parents and relatives. Then, they took their seats in silence before the sounds of "Amazing Grace" from the church's school jazz band filled the sanctuary.
Wang's mother, Jinshuang "Jane" Liu, stepped up to the podium and spoke without a script. Soon after the names of her son and the two other Bay Area victims were released, Liu appeared in one TV news report stunned and distraught.
On Sunday, wearing business suits and their dark hair shining under the sanctuary's spotlights, she and her husband delivered brave, eloquent eulogies about their son and described the bottomless grief and the long road they face before them.
"The hardest thing for me is to be alive," Liu said in English, her second language, and then addressed the audience. "I prayed and asked God, "Why did this happen to me?'" She then delivered her eulogy as a letter to her son, drawing on the small, intimate anecdotes that parents remember in minute details.
As a boy, her son gave away some of his toys to children who had few or none at all. He helped his parents care for his grandmother and never complained. He was a straight-A student who played too many video games, but he never let the games get in the way of study and family time.
Because the family migrated from China to Canada and then here, the boy didn't have many friends to play with. So his father bought him a basketball to pass the time and the sport became a passion. Another was computer science.
Liu then summed up her quiet son: "You don't like fame. You don't like attention ... You have faith, patience, gentleness, self-control."
Her husband followed her on the stage and told the audience how close his wife had come to completely losing her will to live. Liu did not sleep or eat and cried without stop, and often uncontrollably, for two days after David Wang's murder.
Speaking in Mandarin through an interpreter, Wang described how the couple and close relatives continue to feel.
"As far as our family is concerned, truly the sky has fallen," he said. "All our future dreams and hopes were on him. We have lost all of our happiness. We cannot endure his leaving us."
And then he switched, as his wife before him, to their realization their son would not let the madman kill them as well. They began to recover, they said, by healing through their Christian faith and accepting the help and well-wishes of neighbors, relatives and friends from church.
"The power of God," Charlie Wang said. "He knows why this thing has happened ...... We will keep on living, depending on Him and praising Him."
He ended with a story about his son at age four. After riding his tricycle on the sidewalk, he decided to take it home by himself -- five stories up the family's apartment building. The surprised father discovered the boy on the fourth floor, still determined to push the trike one more floor.
"I was truly very proud. He perseveres. He's not afraid of challenges. And he dares to move forward," Charlie Wang said. "God gave us a treasure for a son. Bless his name."
Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767. Follow him at Twitter.com/joerodmercury.