Hugging my niece Erin Yi in Baltimore. ©2021 Yunghi Kim/ Contact Press Images

A Patchwork of Matriarchs

My family today is a patchwork of strong women, absent of men, by circumstance. They are true matriarchs in the image of my grandmother who raised me from infancy and my mother, a physician, who guided me to adulthood.

This is the complete, unpublished essay text I wrote for the New York Times piece “Keeping Love Close” — what love looks like in my family in this time of anti-Asian hate.

From New York Times, “Keeping Love Close”
My brother’s wife Katherine and her daughter — my niece — Tasha, one month after my brother sudden and unexpected death. ©2021 Yunghi Kim/ Contact Press Images
Summer 1973 when our grandmother came to visit from Korea for few months to help my mother who was working as a physician full time, including nights and weekend on a 2nd job. Those were tough years of modest living and devoted saving. My grandmother visited us twice in America. My first visit back to the motherland Korea was not until I was 25 and already a professional in photojournalism and had money to travel to Korea. The other woman on the right is my aunt from New Jersey — our only family in United States, every holiday was spent with “the NJ family,” as my mother geographically referred to them. ©2021 Yunghi Kim/ Contact Press Images
Since my brother ‘s sudden death a month ago, old family photographs have become comforting as I keep thinking back to the tough years — my early years in US of scrimping and saving. Lower left photo is a picture of our grandmother with my sister lovingly leaning against her back in Korea early 1960s. ©2021 Yunghi Kim/ Contact Press Images
My niece Erin Yi, a graduate of Cornell University, now works for a military contractor in a crucial national security role. Like her aunt, she’s got grit and determination! ©2021 Yunghi Kim/ Contact Press Images
Katherine and Tasha at their home in Connecticut. My younger brother died suddenly in his sleep a month ago. My family, once again, is this patchwork of matriarchal leadership. ©2021 Yunghi Kim/ Contact Press Images

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