Turn on the light | Inquirer Opinion

Turn on the light

Dumbledore was right.

I have never felt this happy again.

It must have been three years ago when I plunged into the depths of grief. As far as I can recall, it all began when I embarked on an international vessel for my cadetship during my third year of college. Since then, I have encountered countless obstacles that have altered my brain chemistry, transitioning from self-compassion to bombarding my thoughts with disappointments.

In an attempt to break through, I chose to progress slowly. Each day, I strive to survive, seeing these experiences as part of my pursuit of happiness. To walk the path where genuine smiles reside, we must first navigate the road of anguish. However, I never anticipated that it would persist to this day.


I successfully liberated myself from the captivity of the sea, even excelling in my chosen degree and earning Latin honors. But in return, the person whom I believed would rescue me from misery let me down. It was not only from the sea that I freed myself but also from the person I thought would accompany me for the rest of my life.

Not long after, my mom was diagnosed with stage III-B cervical cancer. Just as I thought I had reached the end of the void, hoping to see the light, I fell into a haystack. From the height at which I was falling, it was never meant to catch me, but instead, it devastated me even more.

From that moment on, I found myself at a crossroads. Only months after my graduation, I was already facing a setback, leaving me with limited time to rejoice in my hard-earned success. I wanted to take multiple paths simultaneously, believing it would alleviate the challenges my family and I were facing. I didn’t have the luxury to rest from academic stress as I opted to work temporarily to provide for my family. Being the only child, with one of my parents recovering in a hospital bed, it was time for me to step up and shoulder full responsibilities.

For months, I was suffocated, juggling multiple jobs and side hustles just to make ends meet. I needed to find balance amidst the ongoing dramas in my life. There were moments of unsuccessful breakdowns, as I had to prioritize work over sulking in feelings of emptiness. I even experienced the toughest moment of my life, witnessing my mom shivering after a blood transfusion, a sight I despised. She had always been there to comfort me, but when it was her time, I felt like a helpless newborn unable to ease her pain.


My life has been more than a roller coaster ride. I once envisioned a life of happiness, experiencing different milestones, far different from what I am currently enduring. I became indifferent to the few things that should have brought me joy, causing me to sink further into despair. I forgot how to find happiness in the little things, which in reality, served as my driving force to keep moving forward. Just when I was on the brink of succumbing to darkness, God never failed to remind me that I have Him. He sent people who uplifted the spirit I had allowed to slumber.

In an instant, lights began to pierce through the darkness shrouding my vision, leading me toward the goal I had yearned for. I never expected that help would come from the most unexpected person, someone with no blood ties but armed with unwavering kindness.


Dumbledore was indeed right about finding happiness even in the darkest of times, as long as we remember to turn on the light. The strength we need is already within us; we simply have to access it by holding onto a single reason to persist, even when countless reasons tell us to quit. In my personal journey, I found support from others that further empowered me to overcome challenges and light up the darkness.

Remember, life is a book to be read forward, not backward. Though progress might be difficult at times, every story is worth the read.

Ultimately, our individual stories will undoubtedly be worth the journey. Trust me on that.


Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Dexter Alan R. Tanudtanud, 23, is a marine engineering graduate. He is currently working at the city government of Davao. He dedicates this essay to all the people who have shone light during his tough times.

TAGS: Cancer, opinion

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.