Arthur Courtright

by Travis from Union

There are many ideas of what makes a hero. For me, it is someone who overcomes difficulty and defies the odds. My biggest hero is my Grandpa on my mother’s side, Arthur Courtright. As a child, he lived a happy and very enjoyable life. Unfortunately, that happiness didn’t last forever.

He has never been wealthy, but he has managed to get by and live a happy life regardless of his financial situation. That was until doctors discovered he had cancer in his left lung. The doctors and our family tried to decide what the best treatment was. After a lot of discussion and multiple doctor opinions, we decided that he was just too old for chemotherapy, at least until it was the only option. The doctors then turned their sites to surgery, but again, his age proved to be an issue. The doctors weren’t sure if his heart was strong enough to go through the surgery. After consulting a cardiovascular expert, we decided that the surgery was worth the risk in order to remove the cancerous tissue in his lung. The surgery was successful; they removed the cancer by taking out a large portion of his lung and part of the muscle in his back.

About a year after his cancer scare, he suffered a disastrous loss when one of his grandsons died in a motorcycle crash. He was absolutely devastated at the loss of his teenage loved one. It took him a long time to get over this devastating news, but his troubles weren’t over yet.

Just a few months later, death once again tore his world apart. This time it was his son that was ripped away from him because of a heart attack. My grandpa was absolutely devastated. This time I was able to attend the funeral, and it was so difficult for me to watch my grandpa try to get through his eulogy. He lost two loved ones in less than a year, both of whom should have outlived him and he would never have had to see them die.

Unfortunately, my grandpa’s medical problems weren’t over yet. Less than a year after his son’s death, he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. An incurable disease that slowly but surely kills the tissue in your lungs until you suffocate to death because you just can’t get enough air in. To make matters worse, the disease had a head start on him because of how much lung tissue he had already lost to cancer. At first he just got out of breath easier, but it has gotten much worse. Now he is on full time oxygen and can barely take the few steps to his electric scooter. He needs help with almost everything; he has to have assistance to get dressed. The lack of oxygen has put a lot of stress on his heart, so now both his lungs and his heart are in very bad condition.

Just two weeks ago, his other son’s wife died of a brain aneurysm. Watching the pain his son went through and knowing how that kind of loss feels, absolutely destroyed him emotionally. It’s terrible when it happens to you, but it can be even worse when someone you care about so deeply has to go through it. That’s why it was so hard for him to see his son go through that pain.

Somehow, through all of his struggles and the loss of so many loved ones, he has managed to stay upbeat in life. He can still laugh and enjoy life to the fullest, even after all the things life has put him through in just the last few years. Life cannot bring down my grandpa; he is such an inspiration to me for not letting life get you down. If he can make it through these kinds of struggles, then how can I get upset if I get a bad grade or lose ten bucks? He has really taught me to not let anything get you down. He has changed the way I view life. I don’t know how much longer he will be here with us, but I will try to enjoy all the time I have left with him. He has given me so much great advice and absolutely unconditional love for so long and it will crush me when he does pass. I just need to try to take his example about continuing on no matter what life takes away from you. I love my grandpa so much and he has changed my life and the lives of all our family members as well, if that’s not a hero, then I don’t know what is.

Page created on 6/29/2009 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/29/2009 12:00:00 AM

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