by Larkin Vonalt



The Chinese are, by nature, a little secretive. My husband had to tell his mother he’d gotten divorced (three years before) so that he could tell her he was getting married again. She didn’t tell him that she’d lost a son in China; Gong, age 4.  Elmer frequently does not want me to tell things that matter so little that it is a bigger deal to not tell them than to tell them.

So I was understanding but exasperated when I learned that the family of the Chinese graduate student killed at the Boston Marathon on Monday did not want her personal details released.

But the dead belong to the universe, they are no longer under anyone’s control. They are of us, and we are of them. This young woman deserves to be mourned alongside 8-year-old Martin Richard and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell. Her death demands acknowledgement.

Meet Lu Lingzi. “Lu” is her family name, and because the Chinese regard it as such, this makes her a cousin to my son and my husband, who share the same last name. (It matters not the spelling, it is all the same character.) She was a Master’s Degree candidate in Math and Statistics at Boston University, and had just started there this fall, after graduating from Beijing Institute of Technology last year. She’d been a volunteer for UNESCO at a World Heritage Site, and had gone to to the Yucai school for high school, and graduated in 20o8. I think that makes her 23. 48a285adb4fee6b05c632cc0_2

She had a profile on Linked in and another on Facebook. I expect those will disappear soon, when her parents have surfaced from their awful grief, as much as any parent ever does.

She’d gone down to the finish line to watch the race with two friends, Zhou Danling, who was injured and another student who escaped unharmed. They could have watched it from Kenmore Square, that’s much closer to B.U. But the cheering isn’t as loud there, there’s not the banners and flags and joyous conclusion to the grueling race.

Lingzi Lu liked The Economist and Disneyland; Lindt Chocolates, and Seiji Ozawa’s rendition of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. She’d noted a pair of Naturalizer shoes called “Bewitched” and some Betsey Johnson eyeglasses.

She played Candy Crush online and had reached Level 77. On Facebook, she had 148 friends. There she wrote that she loved the Charles River at night. Me too, I loved the Charles River at night, so inky and mysterious, a ribbon rippling through the city; a strangely peaceful place.

Her friends called her Dorothy.

Godspeed, Dorothy.