The new information about her mother results in an inward change more than an outer one for Ruth. Because of LuLing’s declining cognitive state, Ruth does not discuss what she has learned with her or ask additional questions. This lack of conversation shows the loss associated with delay. Ruth is more fortunate than LuLing was in that she learns the truth about her mother while her mother is still alive, but it is still too late for her and LuLing to truly achieve a new type of relationship. LuLing is now suffering from dementia and cannot discuss the manuscript with Ruth. Still, LuLing does seem to experience a new kind of peacefulness. For the first time, the people around her have the context to understand what she is trying to communicate, and she can make references to her past. LuLing is no longer alone with her story, and Ruth has new knowledge that enriches her own life.

Because she cannot discuss the manuscript with her mother, Ruth makes choices for herself about how she wants to honor her mother and grandmother. These choices are especially significant because Ruth does not have her own daughter. Ruth’s decision to not have children is not discussed in detail, but she does reflect that she feared repeating the same patterns LuLing established when raising her. Ruth has thus broken the chain of mothers transmitting their pain but also their strength to their daughters. Perhaps because of this, she becomes determined to learn the true name of her maternal grandmother. So much about Precious Auntie has already been lost. There will never be a grave or a commemoration for her, and as LuLing’s memory fades, the last traces of her will be lost. By learning her name, Ruth wants to assert her grandmother’s existence and preserve her legacy.

When she finally learns her grandmother’s name, Ruth feels a sense of peace because she can now understand her own identity and history in ways she has previously pushed aside. Ruth’s extended family has always been tied to her father’s family, but now she has balance. This reclamation of her female lineage empowers Ruth to find her voice and be more assertive. This affects her professionally as well as personally. Not only does her relationship with Art become much more open and equitable, but Ruth also begins to write her own book rather than simply revise the stories of others. The new relationship to her mother and grandmother’s history gives her the confidence to finally articulate herself. Ruth becomes a mirror of her grandmother in that she continues to observe a period of silence so that she can focus on communicating through writing. Spoken words are temporary and vanish quickly, but as the novel has shown, written words can endure and provide truth for generations to come.