I Believe in Fighting to the Death

By: Matt Newel


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I believe in fighting to the death. My grandpa is dying. He has been for the past 6 years. He is 94 years old, and in 2005 he became very sick. After being incredibly healthy for 88 years, my grandfather finally caught something that got the better of him. My mom flew out to Columbus to see him when he first got sick, and when it became apparent that he was probably going to die my dad flew out with my brother and me to see him for the last time.

It was midafternoon when we walked in to see him. The shades in the hospital room were drawn to keep the sun out, and the room was coated in that ugly beige that makes a sterile hospital room look dirty. I could smell the too-clean, latexy fragrance that can only be found in a hospital. My grandpa looked so frail. He was pale, with his skin hanging from his bones. A skeletal version of the jolly, chubby man I’d grown up around. Though we thought he was going to die, my grandpa was able to fight it. He was able to go back home, with some assistance and health monitoring.

To be honest, I should have seen it coming. This was a man who was able to survive World War II, Korea, and Vietnam in his 30 plus year military career. Someone who raised 5 kids, who managed through his 16 year old daughter being killed by a drunk driver, and who remained strong when cancer took his wife. I had never known him to show any weakness, any fear, so when faced with dying in a hospital bed he did the same thing he his entire life: he fought.

He never recovered to his previous level of health. His condition fluctuated over the next few years. Then, this summer, about a week before I moved in to college, my mom got the call. He was back in the hospital, so she went out, and had to once again prepare for his death, and I was told I may miss the first few days of classes for the funeral. But after a week, my mom came home to move me in, and he was still hanging on. She flew back out for two more weeks after move in, basically waiting for the inevitable, but now five weeks after his hospital admittance, he’s back home and on his way to another recovery!

My grandpa is a man I greatly admire, and one of my biggest role models. He has taught me a lot about honor, duty, and being a man, but the greatest lesson my grandpa, Stan Winslow, has taught me is to fight, even when faced with death, and to not take failure as an option. It’s how he lived his life, in the wars, at home, and through all his hardships. My grandfather has been dying for 6 years, and hasn’t given up, so why should I give up hope for him? Why should I ever consider surrendering to any of the things I’m faced with? Surrender isn’t in my blood.