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When People Say a Loved One 'Lost Their Battle With Cancer'

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Today, I lost my grandfather to cancer.

Even though I lost him to cancer, I do not want anyone to think for a second that he “lost his battle with cancer.”

I constantly hear people use this phrasing: “Today, someone lost his/her battle with cancer.” The truth is my grandpa did not “lose” his battle. He was a fighter, and he never gave up. Is it a fair fight and did he lose if it was not a situation that could be “won”?

He was given a few months to live two months ago, so his death did not come as a shock to our family. First, he lost his ability to eat. Then went his ability to walk well. Then, he seemed to be less himself, my “Papa.” Cancer stole him from me, from my family, and there is nothing anyone could have done. By the time the cancer was caught, it was stage 4 and had metastasized to his liver; he was terminal.

The truth is, he fought like hell. Every day, he experienced unfathomable pain. Some days he could not open his eyes. Some days he could not talk. Some days he could not move out of a ball on the couch. Through all of this, he put on a brave face, said goodbye to his family and friends, and fought a valiant effort.

The truth of the matter is this was not a fight that could be “won.” Yet he still pushed his limits. He went out to eat, he ran errands, he gave everyone a proper goodbye. For this reason, I become angry when someone says he “lost” his battle to cancer. I feel like, in a way, it invalidates his struggle and depicts him as a “loser”; he was not a loser.

My grandpa was a man who fought like hell his whole life. He worked hard to get to where he was, and he never took no for an answer. Sure, he was stubborn at times, but he was also one of the kindest people I will ever know. My grandpa saw what he wanted in life, and he went out to get it. My grandpa was not a “loser.”

To anyone whose loved one is fighting cancer, I am so sorry. I believe it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. I hope your loved ones can keep fighting in the days to come, and even if you do lose them, hold them as winners in your hearts.

Papa, you were a winner.

Image via Contributor.

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Originally published: December 14, 2016
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