Yuri Tsuzuki // Heart of Steel // welder // creator of ‘Do Butterflies Dream?’ art project // survivor of father (stomach cancer), grandparents (stomach cancer) & uncle (lung cancer)
Posted August 23, 2015

“In Japanese, cancer is written 癌. It is pronounced ‘gan’ which sounds like ‘gun.’ I remember when my father was going through his rounds of chemotherapy & radiation treatments. One week was particularly hard for him, both physically & mentally. A shy man, my father rarely spoke & even more rarely made a joke. But as he sat propped up by pillows, no longer the intensely, imposing father I grew up fearing, he said, ‘You know…Cancer is a gun. You feel like someone has put a gun to your head. You feel helpless. I’ve been thinking, & I have the perfect gift I’m going to give my oncologist…I am going to give him a gun so that he can take care of cancer before it takes care of me!

“Another memory — quite different — is the morning we saw a butterfly: fragile, beautiful, unexpected. ‘Look Daddy, it’s a butterfly,’ I said. Even in his weakened state, I was able to discern as he glanced upwards, a slight smile in his eyes…

“[In regards to the ‘Do Butterflies Dream?’ art project], imagine butterflies fluttering here & there. They hover & land on a tree, a bench, or perhaps playfully dance on a bridge: reflection, movement, whimsy…A metaphor for life, hope & rebirth. Each butterfly is a gift to commemorate, remember, cherish & celebrate the life/lives of those whom cancer has touched. ‘Look! There’s a butterfly!’ — what magic & joy in those words not only for children, but also for each of us. I imagine a special place filled with butterflies. A place that is sacred & honors life’s metamorphosis, beauty, fragility & magic.”