A Body that Combated. A Man that Prospered.

A Body that Combated. A Man that Prospered.

 © Matthew Chase-Daniel, from the  Body  series, 2011,  www.chasedaniel.com

© Matthew Chase-Daniel, from the Body series, 2011, www.chasedaniel.com

By Brigid Kapuvari

I have visited the hospital a lot recently. My grandfather, 93-years old, was in a car accident, resulting in severe bruising around his (already weary) lungs. He is now focusing on recovery, watching his diet and doing physical therapy each day in order to rebuild his strength. It’s difficult, watching someone that I love so dearly struggle to take in the smallest of inhales. He wheezes and coughs, and with every single breathless rasp, I admit, my heart aches a little more.

And yet, from this whole fiasco, I’ve been introduced to a side of my grandfather that contradicts all of that. A part of him that is utterly radiant, a part of him that’s completely transcendent, bounding through the obstacles – an unyielding warrior. When he smiles, it is with his entire mouth, the folds around it becoming visible, indicating how many times he’s experienced joy and merriment. When he laughs, it wracks his whole body, showing that he does not try to contain his happiness even to the slightest degree. When he looks at me, his eyes are remarkably wide and gleaming, revealing that he is a man who has absorbed every miniscule detail of life and relished in them. While his corporeal being may not exactly be thriving, his spirit is, and in spite of the pain he’s enduring, it does not seem to be going away. The greatest epiphany.  

People fear time. They fear what it will do them in the long haul: strip them of their youth, their agility, their energy, their abilities, their opportunities. But honestly, what is life without the effects of time? Time is an integral element in the equation of life. Every wrinkle gained symbolizes an event that yanked at our heartstrings and left an emotional impact. Every sore represents an arduous adventure that brought about fatigue but we ultimately triumphed over. Time allows evolution and bestows on us the marks to serve as proof of our feats, demonstrating that we have truly lived without tethers or restraints.

If a stranger were to be casually strolling by his hospital room and happened to witness him in his current state, they’d stop dead in their tracks. Solemnly, they would stare, registering the scarce strands of hair clinging to his scalp, the multitude of brown patches adorning his flesh, the many needles jutting from his limbs, the yellowish tinge to his eyes, and label him as a human being ready to expire.

I, however, refuse to perceive him in such a dark light. I refuse to look at him and foresee an impending coffin, as a lot of people do when they come across a figure of weathered skin. Even if he does not overcome this incident – even if this is his final trial – I will only remember a man who prospered. A body that combatted the odds, again and again, to validate its worth.  My grandfather, who used up every ounce of power to live blissfully, adventurously, defiantly – just as he so pleased.

 

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