My Grandfather’s Declining Health: Coping With Loss And Struggle

The Onset: Grandfather’s Declining Health

At the end of my sophomore year, my grandfather fell ill. I hadn’t realized the severity of it until I began noticing the change in his behavior. He was acting weaker and needed more help than he ever had, and because of this, we spent all of our time together. The following week we were informed that he would need open heart surgery. The days leading up were beautiful, full of games, love, and old family stories.

The Twin Trials: Uncle’s Health Scare

We were then faced with another challenge. My Uncle, my grandfather’s son, had also been told he needed open heart surgery. As a child, he had had lung cancer, and as a result, his surgery was more intense than my grandfather’s and would require much more recovery time. Like my grandfather, we all spent time together as a family, absorbing as many memories with one another as we could.

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Post-Surgery: Temporary Relief and Last Memories

A few days later, my grandfather went in for surgery. My family and I camped out in the waiting room as he was being worked on. Hours went by before we heard anything, and it was good news. He was out of surgery and sedated, with no problems to report. The feeling of relief was overwhelming, and I remember crying as the doctor told us. It was two days before he woke up. When my younger sister and I walked into the room, his face lit up, and he looked like a changed man. His face was full of color, his breath was not so labored, and he had his original sassy self back. His distaste for hospital food was hilarious, and he would always insist we bring him diet cokes so he wouldn’t have to drink the ‘awful sludge,’ they had the nerve to call tea. We even went as far as to sneak him some McDonald’s fries one time. By the time he was in rehab, my Uncle had begun to prep for surgery. The day of his surgery was just as unnerving and heart-wrenching, but it finished with the same results.

Loss and Hope: Grandfather’s Passing and Uncle’s Struggle

It took some time for him to gain consciousness, and around the same time, my family and I were planning on heading to the beach for a week. We went and visited my grandfather, giving him our love and kissing him goodbye. The memory of that exchange is seared into my mind. On the second day at the beach, I came down with sudden sickness and laid in bed for most of the day. When I was finally feeling better, I went to see my little sister and cousin, who were playing Fortnite, in the bedroom. The next minutes were some of the worst in my life; my parents and aunt entered the room, tears staining their faces. I knew when I saw them that someone was gone, but I didn’t know who. Shakily, my aunt told us my grandfather had passed, and he had felt no pain. My world was in pieces, and I broke in two. Six hours from home and destroyed, we packed the house and got in the car. I cried myself to sleep and woke up when we arrived at my aunt’s house, where my grandfather had passed. I could bring myself to look at the house; it was too painful. I can’t remember the next night, and I’m glad. We knew the hardest part was yet to come, and we knew it had to happen. Weeks later, when my Uncle was finally lucid enough to understand anything, we went and told him. Holding his hand and standing around him, we spoke, and I could see him break before us. It was a hurt no hospital could fix. They still haven’t, and my Uncle is still in the ICU, but we hope for the best for him every day. I have seen life and death, and I choose life.

Should Sex Education Be Taught In Schools? Pros And Cons Of Sex Education

Pro and Cons of Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Programs measuring contraceptive knowledge showed an increase at follow-up (Bennet, 2005). These findings indicate that abstinence-only programs do not prepare adolescents to make healthy sexual decisions once they do become sexually active. Borawski studied the effects of an abstinence-only program called “For Keeps,” which was created for middle school teenagers. “For Keeps” is a 5-day classroom-based curriculum that stresses abstinence until marriage and focuses on the physical, emotional, and economic consequences of early sexual activity. The curriculum presents virginity as “a gift that should be protected” and emphasizes the need for and development of resistance skills.

Sex Ed in Schools: Analysis of Abstinence-Only Programs

Contraception is discussed in these programs, but only in terms of its failures, and the curriculum emphasizes that contraception cannot protect you from the emotional and economic consequences of early sexual activity (Borawski, 2005). At the 5-month follow-up of the implementation of this curriculum, students who were exposed to the curriculum demonstrated an increase in HIV/STI knowledge, a stronger belief in being abstinent, and a decline in their intention to have sex in the next three months. However, these students showed no differences in confidence in resisting sexual advances, and they demonstrated a decline in their intentions to use condoms in the future.

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The Comprehensive Approach to Sex Education

In contrast to abstinence-only sex education, comprehensive sex education programs and curricula focus on giving teenagers the tools necessary to make healthy sexual decisions. Comprehensive sex education teaches abstinence as the only way to completely prevent unwanted pregnancy and STIs, but it also teaches about contraceptive use and other risks reducing behaviors, such as reducing the number of partners. Comprehensive sex education often includes lessons in avoiding peer pressure, gender equality, and the importance of discussing serious and difficult decisions with trusted adults.

Effectiveness and Acceptance of Comprehensive Sex Ed

National organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Academy of Sciences have recommended that schools implement Comprehensive sex education strategies. As early as 1943, a Gallup poll found that 68% of the adults approved of sex education in schools, and by 1985, that support had increased to 85 %. The research confirms the effectiveness of comprehensive sex education programs. Some of these programs have been demonstrated to delay sex, reduce the frequency of sex, reduce the number of sexual partners, increase condom use, or increase contraceptive use more generally. To conclude, out of the two sex education programs, comprehensive sex education programs have consistently been found effective.


  1. Bennet, A. (2005). Effectiveness of Contraceptive Knowledge Programs: A Follow-Up Study. Journal of Adolescent Health, 32(4), 231-237.
  2. Borawski, E. (2005). For Keeps: Evaluating the Impact of an Abstinence-Only Program on Middle School Teenagers. Journal of Sex Education, 18(2), 147-162.
  3. Barnett, S., & Hurst, M. (2003). Life’s Walk Program: Evaluating the Efficiency of an Abstinence-Only Curriculum. Journal of Family and Adolescent Health, 25(3), 198-212.
  4. Landry, R. (2003). Comprehensive Sex Education: A Strategy for Reducing Sexual Risks among Teens. Journal of Adolescent Medicine, 29(6), 876-892.
  5. Kirby, D. (2006). The Effectiveness of Comprehensive Sex Education Programs: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Health Education Research, 21(3), 345-357.

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