Monday, November 07, 2016

the sculptor

yesterday, in church, the priest happened to narrate a story that reminded me of grandma.

there was a sculptor, who was working on a bronze statue. he toiled at it, day and night, and even when it looked like the sculpture was ready, he continued to polish and apply finishing touches to it. a curious passerby once asked: your sculpture looks complete, how much longer do you plan to work on it for?

the sculptor replied: I will work until my sculpture is taken from me

I remembered grandma. weeks ago, we thought she was on her deathbed. she has stopped opening her eyes, she has long since lost her sense of hearing. she just lies in bed all day, with her laboured breathing and occasional restless movement of her head and hands to remind us that she is still there. she even stopped swallowing food and drinking water for some time, but has resumed again.

she is like that sculptor.

she will not give up until her life is taken away.

such is the human spirit. to fight until the final breath. to never give up even when the end is in sight.

I visited grandma recently, again. I held her shriveled hands and stroked her sunken face. her fingers twitched and she struggled to open her eyes. I visited her to make my peace with what I thought was the end. but watching her struggle, I realized that it wasn't the end. what seems like a few days or months to us, must feel very different to her. just like the last 100 steps to everest seems like any other 100 steps to anyone else, but not to the mountaineer making her approach to the summit, drawing on every last ounce of strength.

I have honestly always believed that every moment prepares myself for the rest, but I found it hard to apply that philosophy to situations like these. I realize now, that such moments are what call for the greatest strength.

I have tears in my eyes as I think about what grandma's frail body is going through. but I remind myself that grandma's mind is not frail. she is strong, stronger than even most of us living in the prime of our youth.

and I will never tell myself that it's over. not until the last breath, when her battle is won.

when her sculpture is taken away.

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