A personal story inspires personal feedback
Rong-Gong Lin II’s recent Column One article about embracing family and cultural traditions after his grandmother’s death touched a chord with readers. A number of them contacted Lin, who goes by Ron, to share their own stories. He collected some of them here:
Some Taiwanese American readers expressed gratitude, including those who weren’t able to travel to Taiwan for family funerals. But readers from other cultures and faiths also wrote to me. One lamented the loss of Central American traditions in his family. One woman said how the story inspired her to learn more from her 97-year-old nana and observe Jewish traditions — like making a matza ball — more closely.
A sampling of comments is below.
Thank you for sharing a part of your life with The Times' readers. Your feelings for your grandmother, and your sense of loss on her death, resonated with me. You were open about how complicated it is to have a family member who is dictatorial and seems inflexible and demanding, and yet that profound sense of their absence, and an appreciation for what motivated them, when they're gone. Also, the cultural differences, the abyss created by a different place and time and experience, were beautifully described. I welled up reading it, and thinking about it after.
I wanted to take the time to tell you what a wonderful story you told about your grandmother and family. I am a second generation Hispanic from Central America. I have lost my old traditional roots and sometimes wonder why and how I lost my way. My children even more so. They don’t even speak Spanish. Anyway, your story was very moving! Thank you for sharing that with all of us. I am sure that it touches and moves everyone in a different way.
Tradition and family -- I'm all about it! My nana is 97 and I value the time and recalling memories and stories before it’s too late. It puts everything, life, into perspective. Thank you for sharing your honesty ... how we can lose our roots from being Americanized. It’s hard not to, but it’s so important to keep each of our cultures alive. I come from a Jewish background but couldn't tell you how to make a matza ball or a Seder dinner. I guess this year I will be observing more closely and listening.
I'm a second generation Taiwanese American, and read your piece in the LA Times today. Your grandma would be incredibly proud of the work you are doing, telling her story to millions across the country. Thanks for telling your story, and thank you to your editors for giving you space to let it be heard.
Thank you for writing about your family cultural experiences. It helps all of us to understand the world a little better that we live in. Bless you and your family.
Photo: As part of the funeral ritual, Rong-Gong Lin II washes away sadness over his grandmother's death. Credit: Alberto Buzzola / For The Times