A senior citizen in Thailand cremated his wife after living with her dead remains for more than two decades in what has been called a display of “eternal love”, leaving many stunned.
Charn Janwatchakal, 72, bid farewell to his wife on 30 April, 21 years after she died, by taking help from the Phet Kasem Bangkok Foundation to cremate her.
Visuals from the cremation shared on Facebook showed the grieving man assisting the foundation staff in taking his wife’s coffin outside his home in capital Bangkok’s Bang Khen district.
“Mum, you are just going for a brief business and you’ll be back home again. It won’t be long, I promise,” the bereaved man was heard saying in the video, referring to his wife.
Janwatchakal had kept his spouse’s body next to him in a small room where he slept and spoke to her pretending she was still alive, according to a report in The Straits Times.
In the daytime, he spent his hours resting with his pet cats and dogs in a small space beside his home.
No legal action has been taken against the man as he had registered his wife’s death with officials.
An executive for the foundation, who used to visit the man in the past two months to give him food and drink and help him recover from a motorcycle accident, was not aware of the developments as she hadn’t noticed the coffin in his home.
Mr Janwatchakal reached out to the foundation seeking help with cremation rituals as he feared his dead wife would not get a proper ceremony in the event of his death.
On Monday, lawyer Nitithorn Kaewto visited the man and interviewed him, finding out that he was well educated and had earned several degrees.
His home remained without electricity and was said to be in a poor condition, according to the report.
The man told the lawyer that he used to live with his wife and two sons but after he held on to her remains when she passed away, his sons decided to move out as they were not okay with his decision.
He said he graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Chulalongkorn University before becoming a medic in the Royal Thai Army, adding that his wife had served in the public health ministry.