Given Strength

December 11, 2010
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I thought I would be okay. After two weeks of grief counseling, a funeral, flowers, and eating nothing but what the neighbors brought over, I thought I could make it through a day of school. Guess I was wrong.

Biology, fourth period. We were studying genetics. Man plus woman equals offspring with about half of each parent's traits. Simple. I was a whiz with Punnett squares. Heterozygous, homozygous, recessive, dominant- they all clicked instantly in my mind. Biology was great because it explains life without the hard parts- emotions, inner development, mental maturing.

“Now, say two parents have kids, okay?” Mr. Sword was saying.

Mr. Sword was one of those teachers who tried too hard to be cool. He acted all casual to seem like a laid-back hippie, what with his ponytail in a professional enviornment and knowing bits of pop culture. Gag me.

“However, the mom's family has a history of hemophilia, which is located on the X chromosome. The mom is a carrier for the trait because only one of her X chromosomes has the gene, but the dad has it because he only has one X chromosome, so only one gene is necessary to have it. Their children have a possibility of the disease. It's more likely for a boy to get it.”

I froze, solid in my seat. Hemophilia. The very disease. The life ruining, overly sensitive, blood sucking disease. A recessive gene in my family. The gene that me and my siblings could possibly be carrying, and that my oldest sister Jenny had.

We were all sitting around outside. Jenny and I were roller skating on the concrete roads, laughing, giggling, doing fancy criss crosses with our feet. Our brothers and sisters were playing hopscotch in the driveway. It was beautiful and sunny, never a day that you would expect your sister, your best friend, to die.

Jenny and I continued to skate. I noticed a small rock in the road. I quickly moved out of the way, but somehow, some cursed reason why, Jenny didn't. She skidded over the rock and fell on her hands and knees. I immediately stopped and hobbled over on my skates. Both knees were scraped up pretty badly, her hands raw.

“Oh my God, Jenny, are you all right?” I asked.

The color was draining from her face; the places where she had been hurt were gushing with blood. She tried to get up, her arms shaking.

“No”, she whispered.

“BOBBY!” I screamed, calling for my oldest brother. “BOBBY!!”

He heard me, saw Jenny on the ground, and sprinted over. I held Jenny's hand. Her face became paler and paler. Bobby arrived, breathless, clutching his cell phone.

“I called 911”, he announced.

He bent down to Jenny. He looked at her, and I could tell he was trying to be a man and not cry. He was only eleven years of age, a sixth grade boy, caring only of soccer and video games just moments ago. Here I was, thirteen, hardly a woman, trying to save my sister. Jenny was sixteen, far too young to risk her life.

“Call Dad”, I said quietly to Bobby. He nodded and pressed a number for speed dial.

I stayed next to Jenny. The blood was coming out slower now. Her eyes slowly began to close.A few tears were begging to slip out of my eyes, but I wouldn't let them. I had to be strong.

The ambulance arrived minutes later, but it felt like an eternity. Bobby stayed home to watch and console the other kids. I rode with Jenny to the hospital. Dad met us there. Jenny was admitted immediately to the ICU. Unfortunately, they lost her. We lost her.

I know that the doctors did all they could. She just had lost too much blood. She was already a fragile girl, weak and thin. But her soul wasn't fragile. Jenny was the strongest girl I've ever known. Even with her disease, she went out and lived her life. She went out with friends, did a lot of activities, dated boys. She lived, she laughed, she loved.

The funeral was held a week later. It felt like the whole town came. Jenny had so many friends, knew so many people. She was always nice to eveyone. People loved her, looked up to her. Tons of family members came too. They adored Jenny. She was the favorite, but we were okay with that, because she was our favorite too. God, I missed her...

Suddenly I realized I was crying. Everyone was looking at me. My best friend, Carrie, who sat behind me, was rubbing my back and whispering “It's okay, it's okay, it's okay”. I laid my head in my hands and sobbed. I missed her. I wanted her back. Why did God take her?

Mr. Sword walked over to my dask. He knelt down beside me. Carrie continued to rub my back.
She continued to say soothing words, but I couldn't make out what they were. I couldn't even look at Mr. Sword.

“Allie, I am so sorry for mentioning that,” he said quietly. “I know this must be incredibly hard for you. If you need to go outside for a minute, that's fine.”

I nodded a thank you. Carrie silently asked me if she wanted to go with her, and I shook my head no. I walked out of the classroom.

It's funny how that one little word brought back these strong, raw feelings. I knew that losing Jenny would impact me forever and I would learn to deal with it. But right then, the pain was just too strong. I needed to go home, cry for awhile. However, I knew I could come back. Jenny had always taught me to be strong. She was watching over me, helping me. I knew she would help me get through this.

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