The Survivors of Great Downfalls

The Survivors of Great Downfalls

A Story by Alexandra

I wrote this as an auto biographical piece for my Writing class at school, and I got an A on it so here it is:)

In our lives, we have experiences that broaden our outlook on life. Either for better or worse. It’s almost as if every day we become a new person from the experiences we are enabled to partake in. We all have life shattering, bone shaking events that will forever mark us as survivors of great downfalls. Everyone has scars, you just have to dig deep enough to understand them.
I met a lady in my freshman year of high school who enlightened my understanding of loss. She lost her father two years prior and showed me how to tell if someone has lost a parent or someone close to them in their lifetime. “When you go through something horrible,” she said “and you tell someone about it, you are able to recognize if they’ve been through the same thing in their lifetime. They gain a sort of sympathy for people who have been through the same thing as them. You gain the same sympathy when you go through it as well.”
It took me a year to understand what she meant and I understand now exactly what she meant. The woman, though I still don’t know her name, changed my life.
I still remember how it all started. It was the 4th of July and I was in San Antonio, Texas. The place that will live in infamy in my heart until the day I die. I was ready to go home and lay in my own bed, ready to get on the plane and head home right then, but I knew I had to wait. I had twelve more hours in this horrid city with these horrid people. I didn’t even want to be here in the first place. I wanted to go home and enjoy my summer. I never wanted to spend two weeks in the closest thing to hell on earth. Who in their right mind wants to be somewhere that has a high of 115 degrees from May to October? A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. I wanted to be back home in Illinois where the high wasn’t so deathly hot. It was bearable. 
I hated myself for it, but I almost enjoyed the fireworks show. The light from the explosions lit up my face and the faces of the people surrounding the Alamodome. It was the greatest thing I experienced in my ten days in Texas, and I will always hold it with me. 
I was unfortunately stuck in Texas with the fifty individuals that I hate most. And only two people that I could handle. Those two people happened to be my roommates. Ashley and Kayla. In reality, I didn’t know them until this trip, but once I got to know them, they weren’t too bad. Which, in comparison to the rest of the people I was on the trip with, isn’t much of a compliment. 
Why are you on this trip if you really don’t want to be? Is probably the question you’re asking yourself. I really didn’t want to go but I decided to go because I’d never been to Texas, and my best friend was supposed to go with me but she bailed. So, here I am signing up for this damn trip in November of 2012, under the influence that she would be going to Texas with me in July of the next year. However, since she wasn’t a member of our church, the church wouldn’t pay for her ticket, and they would pay for mine since my family was in the church practically since they opened the doors of the sanctuary. So here it is March of 2013 and we are just being told this information, and I can’t get out of going because they all ready paid for my ticket, but she can because hers wasn’t being paid for by the church. I’m entirely stuck in this situation and not happy about it, but I go anyway with a positive attitude because the most attractive guy at my school, Perry Blough would be going. He didn’t know who I was, but I sure knew who he was, and hell, he might just make my trip awesome. At least, that’s what I thought. I got on that plane and prayed to every god that I could think of that he would be put next to me. But, much to my dismay I was forced to suffer in silence for the entire plane ride. I thought I might have a panic attack when we lifted off and everyone on the plane knew it, too. 
When I landed in Texas and stepped off the plane I was all too excited to be stepping on solid ground. It was almost as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I could finally breathe again without the fear of exploding. And, it gets better. We had to take a f*****g bus from Austin to San Antonio because apparently it was cheaper to fly into Austin instead of San Antonio which pissed everyone off. So we’re stuck on a bus with fifty people, and I haven’t slept in 34 hours. We finally get to our hotel in San Antonio and all I’m thinking is ‘Thank the Lord’. All I wanted to do was lay on the bed and sleep until Perry came to wake me up. However, I walk into the room on the second floor of our rather nice hotel with Ashley and Kayla, and as soon as my bags hit the floor, our leader shouts from the hallway, “All students, we are leaving for the Alamaodome in thirty minutes” And my heart shattered, but most of all my eyes drooped from lack of sleep. I was ready to strangle someone if I didn’t get a pillow and a bed to lay on immediately. 
“I guess you’re my roommates then.” Kayla said as soon as she walked in and claimed the bed closest to the window as hers. 
“Yeah, I guess so.” Ashley said from the bathroom. She was probably laying out all of the things she needed to ‘make herself look pretty’. Immensely annoying, if you ask me. Get over yourself and stop caking your face with make up. She had natural beauty but was bipolar, (which isn’t something I should hold against her, but I did it anyway) and no one wanted to be around her unless she was in a really good mood. She was a nice person then, but other than that she was an annoying little b***h.
Kayla on the other hand was pretty cool. She was beautiful and didn’t cake herself in make up. She could pull off anything and had an amazing personality. 
I decided that instead of unpacking and getting cozy on the bed, I would just lay my bags in the bathroom, where I assumed I would be sleeping and wait in the hallway for everyone else. There were other people that I knew in the hallway, but they didn’t notice me. As always. I imagined them getting sunburned from the hot San Antonio sun and then developing skin cancer over the course of a few years, slowly killing them. 
My first few days in Texas were boring. We’d get up every morning at 6 am to get ready and take the 45 minute drive to the Alamodome in downtown San Antonio, then we’d stay there all day and watch concerts and eat. It was basically like the women’s lifestyle show for Lutherans. I guess that’s the best way to describe it. There were 20,000 other Lutheran teenagers from around the country gathered in one central location, convinced that everyone needed Jesus. We were even handed out “Kiss Me I’m Lutheran” pins that had Luther’s face on them. I kissed a guy to get mine because it was so worth it. Actually, if I recall correctly, that’s the only souvenir I kept from my Texas trip. It was the neatest thing ever. It turned out to be a slap in the face to whoever made them because some dude who was a Satanist was dragged along by his friends, and he made his own pins that read, “Kiss Me I’m a Satanist” with a picture of what he depicted hell to be like and the stereotypical Satan in the background. Unfortunately, he was asked to leave and they confiscated his pins. 
My third day in Texas was probably the best day because we got to spend the whole day doing whatever we wanted (legal, of course). Roaming the streets of San Antonio, sleeping, swimming, whatever we wanted. The only catch, we needed a leader with us at all times. So, I asked Whitney, our church’s DCE, if she would come with Ashley, Kayla, and me to roam around downtown San Antonio. It was absolutely incredible. We ended up going with two other groups who wanted to go to the same place. We went with Perry, Hope, Bryant, Ben, Jared, Allison, Maggie, and Chris. We ended up with three leaders, Whitney, Jeff, and Cheri. 
Downtown San Antonio was a blast. If you’ve ever been to Peoria Heights, it’s just like that except three times the size, and instead of streets, they have a long river that runs through it. There were these really neat little stores set up on every corner, and even little boats that took you to wherever you needed to be, (for a ‘conveniently low price of $20’, of course) but instead, we conquered the city on foot. 
That was the day I thanked whoever invented deodorant. It was 103 degrees outside and we walked a total of around ten miles that day. Everyone carried around ‘National Youth Gathering’ backpacks and by the end of the day, had sweat so much that it gave them huge sweat stains in the shape of an X on their backs. I shouldn’t have been one to laugh because I had the same mark on my back, but it was still pretty comical. We were exhausted by the end of the day, and were entirely envious of the intelligent people who decided to stay back and take a twelve hour nap at the hotel. Considering I got less than twenty hours of sleep that entire week, it didn’t seem like such a good idea to have spent the day walking around in the hot sun when my head hit the pillow that night. That was the night I slept the most because I refused to wake up earlier than 7 am. It was marvelous, the extra hour of sleep that night. But, I knew I couldn’t count on it the next night. Ashley and Kayla wanted to go see a midnight premier of a movie. I really didn’t want to go, but we weren’t allowed to be alone in a hotel room at night, so I was outvoted and I had to go see the stupid movie with them.
Turns out that it wasn’t so horrible that they forced me to go see the movie. I sat through nearly two hours of a boring movie, and then we went to Walgreens at around 3 am. And, that’s when it all hit me. When I realized what was going on with me. Sitting there in the family planning aisle of Walgreens while Kayla talked to her boyfriend over the phone about what type of condom she should buy, (in disgusting detail, I might add) I realized that I was days late for my period. I never kept track of it in the summer because it was just a pain in the a*s, but I specifically remember getting so mad because I was supposed to start the day before we left for Texas. I remember sitting on the cold floor of Walgreens, making faces at Ashley because of how disgusting Kayla sounded, and watching my entire world fall apart. I had to hold back the tears. I wasn’t about to admit to them that there was a possibility that a fetus was growing inside of me. I repulsed myself. How could I let something like this happen to me?
“Alex?” Kayla waved her hand in front of me, then I realized I was staring off at the lubricant and quickly jumped my eyes up to her.
“Oh, sorry, I’m just really tired. I kind of dozed off a little.” 
“Well, we’re ready when you are.” 
I stood up, quickly deciding if I should get a pregnancy test and how I could discretely purchase it without them seeing me. But, before I knew it, we were out the door and heading back to the hotel. They tried to make small talk with me, but I was out of it. All that was going through my mind was how badly I might have just screwed myself over. What if I was pregnant? I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t stick along if that was the case. He would probably tell me that he would stay, but then end up leaving, complaining of too much work. You know, stereotypical reasons to leave your girlfriend who is either about to have a baby, or has just given birth. Being from a single parent home, I always promised myself I would never have children because I would under no circumstance put my child through what I went through while I was growing up. The disappointment would be unbearable and I just wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I put my own child through hell and back. 
The next day was July 3rd. I knew I needed to find out if I was pregnant before I got home to Illinois on the 5th, and today would have to be the day. I told myself this as I got out of my poorly made bed on the floor next to Ashley’s bed. They were both still sound asleep, unaware of the life changing news I was about to discover. It was only 5 am, great. An hour and a half of sleep. But, I needed to get up this early. I tip toed out of the room, grabbing the spare key that was sitting on the bathroom counter and leaving as quietly as possible. The Walgreens wasn’t too far away, so if I hurried I could be back before they woke up at 6.
Once I got out of the lobby I ran like hell to the Walgreens across the street, dodging cars and the occasional bug that tried to make its way into my eye or my teeth. Gross little maggots. There wasn’t much traffic out and I only had to get through two lanes. Unfortunately, I made it out alive.
I buzzed through the Walgreens, noticing I was the only one occupying the store besides the cashier and probably a few workers in the back that I didn’t see. I was on a mission and I needed to get back to the hotel as quickly as possible. Then, I saw Cheryl, one of our leaders, in the refrigerator section. “Motherfu-” I started to whisper to myself. Then, I got out of her vision and walked to the school supply section. 
Why in God’s name was she here? Why was she up so f*****g early? Then, I decided that if anyone, she would be the one who would be most understanding. So, I decided I’d just bite the bullet and tell her. It wouldn’t be so bad.
My legs were shaking when I walked past the pencils and pens, I thought that I might regret this decision, but I figured I was already half way there by convincing myself that I was going to tell her. 
“Alex?” I heard from behind me. Dear God…she saw me first.
“Oh, hey Mrs. Griebel.” I smiled at her and I tried to not let her hear the shakiness of my voice. I was terrified and I wanted to turn back as soon as I saw her.
“What are you doing here?” She looked puzzled, and she was holding a bag of popcorn and a jug of iced tea. 
“I just needed to pick some things up for Ashley.” I pointed to the ‘feminine care’ aisle and she nodded her head in understanding. 
“Alright, well would you like me to wait for you?”
“No…that’s alright. I’ll be back at the hotel in a few minutes.”
She didn’t say anything for a few seconds, making the conversation awkward. “Well okay sweetie. I’ll see you back at the hotel.”
I smiled to make her less suspicious and hoped she would leave me alone. Thankfully, she did and I watched her leave. After I was sure that she was out of the vicinity of the store, I walked to the family planning aisle, picked up a pregnancy test and then hauled a*s out of there. I wasted twenty minutes waiting for Mrs. Griebel to leave and I needed to get back before every one woke up. I rolled up the test into my purse and ran back to the hotel, hoping either the heat or maybe an enraged driver might kill me. I really didn’t want to know the answer that this pregnancy test held. I already knew what it was in my heart, but I needed the proof. I needed to know for sure. 
When I walked into the lobby of the hotel, no one was there except for the lady behind the counter who offered me a free cookie, as she did every time anyone else ever walked into the hotel. I ran up to my hotel room, thankful that neither of the girls had woken up and it took all my will power to pee on that f*****g stick and then wait for an answer. It was the scariest three minutes of my life. As I sat on the side of the bathtub, staring at my phone, waiting for three minutes to pass, all the thought came rushing to me and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I broke down and started crying and I couldn’t stop crying. I curled up into a ball on the floor of the bathroom and before I knew it, Kayla was in the bathroom staring at me. 
“What the hell is wrong?” She looked at me with worry in her eyes.
I sat up, wiped my eyes off and said, “Nothing, I’m just…really, really tired.”
She crossed her arms at me. “You’re pregnant.”
I looked at the stick still sitting on the counter, face up. Two pink lines. I started trembling and I wanted to strangle Kayla. I wanted to crawl up into a ball and just disappear. I now had two burdens on my shoulders. I was pregnant. And Kayla knew about it. 
I couldn’t say anything to her. I just stood there in disbelief.
“Don’t worry Alex.” She offered me a warm smile. “I won’t tell anyone. I’m sorry I saw it.” She held her arms out for a hug, and I hugged her only because I would have felt rude if I didn’t.
We were leaving on July 5th, and I just cold not wait to get home. I wanted to lay in my own bed and cry instead of laying on a floor. Our flight could not have taken any longer to board. I wanted on that damn plane and I wanted to be in Illinois already. I sat on the plane the entire time contemplating how I should kill myself. I wanted out of this situation. If I didn’t do something, I would end up with a baby who would live a life just like mine, if not worse, and I didn’t want that for her. This baby was better off in a higher power’s hands, not mine. All I could do was harm her. I could not care for a baby, neither could I give birth to a baby. I was so overwhelmed that all I did on the plane ride home was cry, and all I did on the bus ride from Chicago to Peoria was cry. It was all I could do and by time I walked into my house, I was out of tears. I was too exhausted to cry anymore. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to sleep and not wake up. I wanted to sleep and then wake up with the realization that this was merely a dream and I had nothing to worry about. But, I did have something to worry about. I was pregnant and I couldn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my boyfriend until three days after I returned from Texas. He told me he would be supportive, but I knew I would be alone in this. I couldn’t tell my family that I was pregnant because they hated my boyfriend. I wasn’t allowed to see him and they would have killed me if they knew that I was pregnant with his child. I was stuck in the worst clusterfuck of all time. I wanted this baby gone, and I would have gone to any circumstance to make sure that the pregnancy was terminated. I starved myself. I limited my calorie intake to 10 calories a week. I legitimately ate a piece of cheese every other day for two weeks. I tried running and doing sit ups and crunches until I felt like I was going to keel over and die. 
I found out that my due date was March 7 and that I was five weeks pregnant when I took the pregnancy test. On July 18, I was seven weeks pregnant, and that is when I told the first person besides my boyfriend. I told my aunt who was a gynecologist and she told me that she would help me as long as she could. She told me she would be there for me when I had to tell my parents. She would be there every step of the way.
But, on the night of July 28, 2013, I started bleeding. I knew it wasn’t normal, you’re not supposed to get your period when you’re pregnant, and everyone knows that. I called my aunt and she told me to just calm down. It was nearly midnight, so she told me that if it continued, I should come over the next night and she’d give me an exam. But in the meantime I should try to get some rest. She told me that if something was happening, there was nothing we could do about it by now and it could wait until the next night.
That night I got only an hour of sleep. I stayed up all night worrying about my baby. Not even a week ago I had wished it to be dead, and now I was praying for her safe arrival sometime in March. I stayed up all night talking to her, hoping she could hear me. I knew it was useless, but I did it anyway. I wanted to go back in time and punch myself in the face for wanting my miracle to be dead. I was so devastated that my pregnancy could be ending when I only had a few short weeks with my baby. We didn’t have time to bond like all the mothers I knew had. I wouldn’t get to hold her or watch her grow up. The next forty eight hours would be the worst of my life.
The bleeding worsened throughout the next day, so I sent a text to one of my closest friends, Chloe to meet me at my aunt’s house and be there as soon as she could. She was so terrified. This was the first I told her about anything and she was already so supportive that it was crazy. She sat out in my aunt’s living room while my aunt examined me. 
[I have not given out any information about what happened in the next hour. It is too hard to speak about and too heartbreaking to write.]
I left my aunt’s house that night without my baby. I left her in Heaven with my grandpa who is still up there reading her stories and pushing her on swings. She never had to experience pain, and I had the privilege of carrying her for her entire life. I know that to this day there is no way I could have ever cared for a child, and it is for the best that she is in a better place. I still love my baby more than you will ever know and she will forever hold a place in my heart.
I got out of my grandma’s car the next day and went into Kroger’s to pick up some groceries. I grabbed everything that was on her list and walked slowly, crying inaudibly. I was in immense pain, and I tried to hide it from everyone, but I couldn’t even stand up straight. I stood behind a woman who was in line with her three children and I thought about going to a different check out, but I was out of energy. I could not move. 
The lady looked up at me and knit her eye brows together. “Oh my, sweetie. What on earth happened to you?”
I hesitated before I told her, “I just had a miscarriage.” 
And the woman just looked at me, and in that moment, I thought about the lady I met back when I was 14. I looked at this woman that I didn’t know and I knew. I knew that there were more children who belonged in her family, but they were in Heaven just like my baby. And she just hugged me. Right there in the middle of Kroger and told me that it would get better. I wanted her to never let go and I wanted her to be right. I wanted my pain to end, but I was silly to think that it would ever end. I wake up in the morning, and I think to myself that I should be almost eight months pregnant right now. When I see pregnant women, or women with infants, I cry. I run away and cry because I can’t handle it. If you are ever blessed with children, always cherish them and never let anyone hurt them. Keep them under your protection and supply them with the best that you are able to. 
I may have never got to hold my baby, but I am still as much a mother as the next woman.
R.I.P Rachel Rose 7-29-13

© 2014 Alexandra

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I found this through the autobiography group and it's great to be the first to review it. I had no idea what it was going to be about, but I could tell right away that I was reading the work of a real writer.
Your story is powerful. I can't really imagine the feeling of losing a child that way, being a man (and also not a father), but I could really feel the emotions through your writing.
Thanks for sharing this message with us.

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Added on February 17, 2014
Last Updated on February 28, 2014
Tags: autobiography, memoir, pregnancy, miscarriage, texas, illinois, summer, pain, depression, love, highschool, teenager, teen, loss, death, infant, baby, teen pregnancy



Peoria, IL

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