Saturday, May 18, 2024
HomeSTUDENT JOURNALISTFamily Event - Trilix Memoria* - Student Journalist

Family Event – Trilix Memoria* – Student Journalist

Total Journal by JH

I was watching the movie Schindler’s List on the television screen at home on a Friday night, the happiest time of the week. In the scene, Oscar Schindler was recalling all of the names of the Jews from his factory for the sake of creating a list to save them from being sent to Auschwitz. The music that accompanied the scene brought forth fear and respect, altering my entire room into a sanctuary.

Suddenly, a sound ambushed my ear drums, and I was pulled back to reality. It was a phone call from my dad who was currently in Korea with my mother. My dad who was over the phone, in a trembling voice, a sign that he had wept, whispered: Your mother has a breast cancer, and she has fifty percent of survival rate. I replied: Then there is nothing to worry about. I know that this response is unexpected as a son, but the bad news was not unexpected indeed since my mother had showed symptoms of illness before she flied to Korea for an official checkup.

In addition, I am a bright person. Whenever I see a half-full glass of beverage, my response has always been: There is still half left! The one fact that struck my mind after our quick father-son conversation was my father’s tears. My dad often proudly mentioned that if he were to pick one best trait that can be passed down from the Byeon family, he would pick the positive mind. Only later did I find out that fifty percent was not a fortunate number in the medical field.


That’s my son were the first words that bloomed in my head after hearing my son’s optimistic response. My mind, on the contrary, was tainted with colors of pessimistic feelings. As I gazed at my wife, who fell deep in sleep on the hotel bed, I reproached myself and resented God who said do not fear 365 times in the Bible.

My wife is a strong-willed woman, and I have depended on this strength of hers since our marriage. She was the one who earned our family’s living initially while I resigned my work from the Korea Incheon Airport and began to prepare for a private business. She was a computer programmer in her University where her name is honored as a legend even till today.

I will never forget that moment. After she acquired her bachelor’s degree, the computer language went through a drastic change, a watershed event that threw many computer science majors in despair. Literally, countless employees who were educated prior to this turning point received a burn notice.

Moreover, the following generation of computer programmers, who were armed with the brand new language, derided their foregoers as remains of the past. While her friends were giving up on their jobs, my wife was flipping the pages of a thick text book, studying the newly born language, and finishing off the work given to her. Once, she stayed awake for five days and nights.

Eventually, she fainted on the fifth day, but after a short period, an hour or two, she returned to her computer with an IV drip hanging by her office chair. Because of this incredible endurance of my wife, I let off my guard, naively trusting that nothing bad would happen to her body. However, do not fear does not equal do not be careful.

The one thing that I regret greatly is that when my wife frequently said that she felt a pressure on one of her breasts and when her friends constantly suggested of registering for cancer insurance, I did not attend to these omens. Then, I remembered a story of a man who was lost in the desert and prayed to God to save him.

During these wanderings under the scorching sun, three times had he encountered travelers with camels and water, yet when each time these travelers were willing to lend a hand, he refused, claiming God will help me. He died in the end and as a form of a spirit he cried to God: Why didn’t you deliver me? God answered: I send you three men. An affirmative attitude does not justify negligence.


As I walk down the hallway, I observe many people passing by: patients who walk relatively at a slow pace and nurses who make rapid steps. Each of the rooms at my floor has five beds independently surrounded by curtains that create private spaces for every patient. All five of us in my room are here for a similar reason and we might share an identical destiny.

As I glance at the whole room, I see white walls, white ceiling, white floor, white beds, white curtains, and white uniformly dressed patients. Simultaneously, I “see” five distinct feelings, five unique thoughts, and five special lives.

Most of the time, the curtains are closed, so whenever the sunlight unveils the morning of a day, shadows swirl under the curtains, shading over the beds and rendering the room a bit dark and yellow. My space, nonetheless, never loses its bright light. The golden ray shines from the big rectangular window, decorating the wall on the right side of my bed. I stared at my husband carefully. He leans his back on that wall in a calm posture, showing me a delicate smile on his face.

In his hands, he holds a Bible that he has taken from the drawer located on the left side of my bed. He is endeavoring to conceal traces of melancholy by reading the scriptures of hope. At times, our relatives or close friends, who visit us with flowers and fruits beautifully placed in a brown basket, leave me with words that I will cherish forever. Shine is the word they used to describe me.

Maybe it’s the sunlight shining on me, but I trust that it is God’s shield and guidance that illuminates me. The one and only concern that ignites fear in my heart is that my suffering and trial might become a grueling difficulty for my son.


Along with the advent of winter vacation, a time as desirable as Friday evening, came the good news that my mother’s operation was successfully done. At last, I was given the permission to leave China for Korea.

After approximately seven hours of travel, I reunited with my dad. I find him waving his hand in front of the main entrance of the building where my mother was hospitalized. While following my dad, I recognize that patients wear snow white clothes with gray stripes that resembled prisoners. Yes, prisoners whose physical freedom is deprived by a chain called illness.

We enter a room and head towards the brightest area. I detect a presence. My soul begins to vibrate as if it had yearned for the warmth that presence brings to me.

My eyes and her eyes make contact. We touch each other’s hand. Is there a communication as beautiful, deep, and magical as this one? Truly, there are no words that need to be uttered. My black pupils reflect the hollow of one of my mother’s breasts, or perhaps…… her heart……

Post Script

My mom is now in Seoul, Korea, celebrating my grandmother’s seventieth birthday. Even though she lost one of her breasts, she continues to pray and honor Jesus. I hear that she is returning to Beijing, China around next week. And…she will shine.  


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