"I can't let her go": a Seoul family mourns

STORY: This was the last time Jung Hae-moon heard his daughter's voice.

'Dad, I'm going out,' Joo-hee says on the phone, turning down an invitation to dinner.

Out to celebrate Halloween in Seoul's Itaewon district, where she was killed in a stampede hours later.

As news of the disaster unfolded, Hae-moon dashed to the district's narrow streets.

He filmed this - the chaos he met, the distraught young people in costume, the ambulances collecting the victims.

He found Joo-hee the next day in a morgue, lifeless, swollen and bruised.

Most of the 156 dead were in their teens or twenties, nearly two-thirds of them female.

On Thursday (November 3), Joo-hee's ashes were buried in this peaceful family plot outside Seoul.

The family planted a tree and laid bouquets of flowers.

They brought along Joo-hee's pet poodle, for a ceremony of prayers and tears.

"Rest well. Mum and dad will come see you until we die. Thank you."

"My love Joo-hee. I appreciate that you came to me as a daughter. I was happy.”

The cafe Joo-hee ran is closed. The sign reads "in mourning".

"I can't let her go," says her mother, Lee Hyo-sook. The 30 year-old loved animals and drinking wine.

“I came here thinking of her favourite flower. Did she like it because she herself was delightful? The space she leaves is too big. The gap she left in the family is too much, the emptiness."

Their anguish is shared by all the bereaved families as the traditional three-day wake comes to an end.

Some parents didn't know their kids were out in Itaewon.

Some wonder why they were celebrating Halloween, a foreign concept for older Koreans.

But like Hyo-sook, their biggest question is how there could be so little crowd control.

“It is heart-breaking. The police received calls from 6 p.m. but they did not respond well. I am beyond angry. It is outrageous because in any emergency, the country should protect its people and keep them safe."

South Korea as a whole is struggling to comprehend the loss of so many young lives, on what should have been an evening of fun.