I'm familiar with my relatives' faces but not their names

By Thienthan   January 24, 2024 | 04:00 pm PT
Since my parents passed away, I have only been to my hometown during holidays or special anniversaries, making it hard for me to recognize relatives by name, though their faces are familiar.

I have long wanted to discuss young people’s diminishing connection with relatives. My hometown is in Hai Duong province in northern Vietnam, but now my family lives in Quang Ninh, another northern province.

When my parents were alive, we frequently visited our hometown, not just on holidays. But since they died 20 years ago, my visits to Hai Duong are limited to the Tet Lunar New Year and my parents’ death anniversaries only. I even feel uneasy staying overnight during these visits.

So I must admit, among my relatives there, I am unsure who is still alive and who has passed away. When we have gatherings during my trips to Hai Duong, many faces are familiar to me, but their names escape me.

At a recent funeral in my hometown, my younger brother pointed at some people and asked about our relation to them. I could only laugh, recognizing them as relatives but unclear on specifics of our relations.

Only those who have been away from their hometowns for a long time, like me, may understand such awkwardness. If I am in this situation, how can I expect my future generations to maintain their roots?

What are your thoughts on this matter?

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