Toughness

Two years ago this week my cousin was in a terrible job-site accident. He worked as a heavy crane operator, and one morning he was crushed between a steel beam that weighed around 10,000 lbs and a large pile of dirt. Somehow, he survived the initial impact. He also survived nearly suffocating because dirt filled his mouth and nose on impact. He made it through maybe 20 surgeries on his knee, shoulder, hips, back, and he fought off sepsis, plus a few other major life-threatening incidents. My count is unofficial, but I think he stared down Death at least five times. He’s by far the toughest person I know. Also the most stubborn. Thank goodness for that; I’m sure it kept him alive.

I’m thinking about him today because of the anniversary of his accident, and because I’m sick, again. For awhile today I was feeling sorry for myself. I’m sick and uncomfortable. My cousin has had to learn to walk again. I’m living in India; he had to live with his parents for over a year while he started his recovery. Parts of his body were destroyed, and he’s had to figure out how to make them work again. I don’t like my food options while this thing works its way through my system. He keeps getting up and defying the odds. I worry if I’ll be well enough to go back to work tomorrow. He’s a miracle. I’m just sick.

In one of his poems, Wendell Berry writes, “Practice Resurrection.”

I’m really glad you’re still here, KS.

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