The air was chilly. I lay there wearing only a thin, green sterile gown.
I started to hear voices around me. I could feel my limbs again, followed by a sharp pain, which spread all the way up from my toes. I was pushed out of the recovery room. Through the haze, I saw your face. “Are you alright?” You leaned in and asked. Listening to your voice, I could tell you’ve been worried for hours. I smiled and gave you a thumbs up, letting you know I was fine. It was the first operation in my life. It happened the year I entered the monastery.
“It hurts!” You patted my head softly, never taking your eyes off me.
You stayed by my side all day long, taking care of my every need. A steady throb of pain hit me, making it almost unbearable. I looked at you in tears. “Mom!” I cried.
Suddenly, your face turned grave, and you said to me earnestly, “If you can’t stand a bit of pain now, what will you do when I’m no longer by your side? It’s not an easy path to learn to be like the Buddha and Bodhisattva. You have to be brave!” Your face told me you couldn’t bear to see me in pain. At the same time, I could see in it the high expectations you had for me.
Suddenly, I remembered that sleepless night the day before I entered the monastery.
“Do you really have to go? Couldn’t you stay with mom?” You’d said through tears. I’d cried too. We were both filled with mixed feelings. In the end, your love for me won. You gave me your full blessing to start a brand new life. You became the guardian of my dreams; never again to speak of how much you’d missed me. Whenever I am timid, this would always remind me of my aspiration and encourage me.
That night, as I lay on the hospital bed, your words were like the sound of the bugle, summoning the courage within me. The pain has never stopped, but my fear and cowardice were gone. Your expectations for me has given me the strength to carry on.