art with story

The Bright Light

A man and a dog sleeping | Watercolor, gouache, color pencil, and crayon on paper | 10 x 15 inches (25.4 x 38.1 cm)

I had emergency surgery while I was in the hospital early this year. I didn’t know how bad the situation was. I was in and out of consciousness. So many people surrounded my bed, pushing me here and there to an OR in a hurry. I was confused. When my bed stopped, I woke up and saw my husband praying with a pastor next to me. He was crying. We don’t have a religion. But there he was, praying to God he never reached out before with tears. Then, I realized that I might not see him again.

I don’t remember if I cried too at that time. Fear rushed in, but I smiled at my husband and said I’ll be back. I often saw similar scenes in movies and dramas, but I thought they could smile because it was an act. But I had to smile. I didn’t want my fearful wail to be the last look he remembered. In the OR, the doctor gave me anesthesia quickly. But I was looking around, trying to make sense of what was happening. Then the doctor saw me with my eyes wide open. He pressed my neck gently, and I lost consciousness.

I had a brief moment before I blacked out completely. During that flashing instant, I saw my husband and our dog, Dingo running toward an extremely bright light. My husband was in the front, looking back at Dingo with a big smile. Dingo also had his mouth wide open with his tongue out, running after my husband. I still remember this scene vividly. When I woke up and recalled the picture for the first time, I thought my husband was looking at Dingo. But now I think he was looking at me too. Also, Dingo was turning away from me to go after him. That means he was next to me, and I was close to them. I realized they wanted me to follow them and leave the operation room safely.

Fortunately, my condition wasn’t as bad as the doctors thought. It wasn’t easy, but they could stop the bleeding, and I could return to the room where my husband was waiting. When I saw him, I said; See? I told you I’d be back! Yes, you did, and you really came back! He replied with a big smile. After that day, it dawned on me that my life doesn’t solely belong to me anymore.

Still, many moments drag me into the dark. It’s not new. Even before I got cancer, the darkness visited me often. My young life wasn’t so nice to me. I couldn’t find a reason to live and often thought about the end. The only thing that prevented me from leaving was the pure fear of death. After my cancer diagnosis, I accepted the possibility, and the fear was gone. But I have a more powerful fear now. I’m terrified for my husband’s pain he will have after I’m gone. I know how he will be, and I don’t want to let that happen to him. Even before my illness, we often talked about how important our existence is to each other. And it always ended up talking about how sad and devastating it would be for us to lose the other one. So I decided to survive. I will do whatever it takes for me to get better. I had a few more times that doctors had to rush into my room. Whatever the reason was, I tried to breathe. I didn’t give up.

Every day is still a struggle for me. I’m often afraid of the morning to come. So I tell myself each day, let’s get through TODAY well. And when I sense my day is getting dark, I think about the scene I saw on the operating table. The bright light and my husband and Dingo’s smile defeat the darkness for me. Someday I want to create the scene as a painting, but for now, I want it to be in me as pure as it is.

And again, I’ll get through this very day well and hope you do too.

Dear readers,
I was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year and am undergoing active treatment now. Unfortunately, my husband and I recently got into a financial crisis, including losing our insurance for my treatment. So I’m kindly asking for a donation if you enjoy my blog. Any small kindness will help us a lot.
Thank you so much.


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