Racked by horror and heartache, there was noone to help him as he struggled to give his wife some vestige of dignity in death.
But in the chaotic aftermath of the Chinese earthquake, this man was determined she should not be left abandoned in the grim mountains of rubble.
So, with loving gentleness, he carefully strapped her body to his own - and took her to the local morgue on his motorcycle.
It was a small token of humanity in a tide of devastation that has claimed 20,000 lives, according to official figures. Up to 60,000 are still missing following the quake on Monday.
Soldiers from the People's Liberation Army dug through the rubble of Wenchuan county with their bare hands to reach those trapped.
As rescuers scrambled to pull out remaining survivors, one child, aged about four, was taken away in a sheet acting as a makeshift stretcher. Another soldier helped a rescued child take sips of milk.
Despite the rising death toll, there have been some isolated scenes to lift the spirits. In the
Zhang Chunmei told how she and her classmates sang pop songs as they lay trapped and injured in the ruins.