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K-dramas in helpful, healing doses

/ 07:38 PM March 27, 2020
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My first exposure to K-drama was in 2016, when my sister mentioned that she was following “Descendants of the Sun”, which caught her attention because of the life and love story between a medical doctor and a military man, going through tough experiences. To satisfy my curiosity, I followed the 16 episodes of DOTS, which left me crying in episode 15 and truly overjoyed by episode 16.

The next K-drama I watched came in few and far between because I continued to busy myself with family life and work. I did not have much down time to watch K-dramas regularly like how some of my friends did. Aside from the usual tasks and responsibilities that daughters, wives, and mothers had to fulfill, I also had to be my husband’s anchor while he bravely battled a rare type of brain tumor which progressed into cancer (Pineoblastoma) for eight years. This role was not easy to take on because the different circumstances saw us riding a physical, emotional, spiritual and financial roller coaster. My husband’s peaceful surrender came on the seventh of June in 2019, after eight confinements, seven brain surgeries, four cycles of radiation treatments, and two cycles of oral chemotherapy.

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My personal road to healing after my husband’s demise has been painful. It is true that grief comes in waves, and appears in different times, places and situations. The healing journey has made me become braver to face each day, knowing and accepting the fact that my husband cannot come back anymore in his physical form, but will remain in my heart and memory. Each day has become more manageable to bear, thanks to the power of prayer, the blessings and the support coming from my family, friends and the communities we belong to. Aside from these, I allowed myself to go through healing with the help of different articles on grief therapy and counseling.

Then around the seventh month after my husband’s passing, I found myself getting into the mood of watching K-dramas again, thanks to a stronger internet connection and Netflix. That was the time when “Crash Landing on You” was the trending K-drama on Netflix. I got hooked and that got my fresh fangirl blood (as what my friend called it) heated up. One of my sons even said to me, “Sige ‘ma, chill ka lang. Nood ka lang ng K-drama.” Soon after, my siblings and friends were giving me a list of K-drama to watch after work and on weekends.

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Little did I know that the subsequent K-dramas that I chose to watch would have scenes depicting drama in hospital settings. Scenes from “Descendants of the Sun” (with surgery and treatment procedures performed by Dr. Kang Mo-yeon), “Crash Landing on You” (showing Yoon Seri confined in the intensive care unit with an oxygen mask), “Oh My Venus” (with Kim Young-ho/John Kim having his oxygen treatment in a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Chamber) brought back memories of my husband’s hospital confinements and several post-operation treatments which exposed me to different types of medical equipment. I’ve seen those when he was wheeled into the neuro-ICU after every brain surgery that he had, when he was monitored in different hospital rooms while recuperating, and when he received post-operative treatment in the hospital and in another clinic.

Seeing the K-drama scenes made me recall the tough times we had to face as a family. But those same scenarios also had an optimistic impact on me. They made me reminisce with a grateful heart how we were able to face those painful moments through the power of prayer and the immense support we received from family and friends. There were even individuals we haven’t met but still accompanied us in our journey by sending prayers and messages, and emotional and financial support. The scenes showing how doctors and nurses provided medical treatment to the lead and supporting characters helped me remember how we were cared for by our competent and supportive medical care team from The Medical City from 2011 to 2019. For all of these blessings, we are in deep gratitude.

It was not only the story of these K-dramas that touched my heart. Each K-drama has its own original sound track. Even if I don’t understand the lyrics, some of the songs had an uplifting effect on me. Sometimes, even just the melody of these songs brings peace and calm to my broken spirit. The song “Stand By Your Man” (from the soundtrack of “Something in The Rain”) moved me and made me reminisce that I did stand by my man. Sometimes, some songs would make you dance to the beat, take for instance the songs “Darling U” and “Beautiful Lady” (from “Oh My Venus”). This is the soundtrack that I play when I feel like it’s a good day to sway to a beat.

I am aware that people dealing with the loss of a loved one have different ways of coping with grief. As for me, watching K-dramas and listening to K-drama OSTs have been two ways of dealing with my loss. I can say it has been doing me good so far.

I am not sure if this message will reach them (I hope it will) but to the creative team, actors and actresses of my favorite K-dramas “Descendants of the Sun”, “Crash Landing on You”, “Oh My Venus”, “That Winter, the Wind Blows”, “Something in the Rain”, “It’s Okay, That’s Love”, “Cain and Abel”, and other K-dramas I am still about to watch, kamsahamnida. Please continue to make beautiful and heartwarming stories of love and hope. Know that your creative gems are and will continue to help me, this broken and yearning spirit, in my healing journey.

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Polly Villanueva Pelayo from Marikina City is a faculty member at the Ateneo Junior High School. Her husband Edwin would have turned 48 on March 17, 2020. She says, “This is my first written reflection about our journey since he peacefully yet bravely passed on.”

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Posted by INQUIRER.net on Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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TAGS: Crash Landing on You, death, Descendants of the Sun, Hospitals, K-dramas, Marriage, netflix, television, TV series, widow
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