Am I afraid of the dark? No, but I am afraid of darkness. I'm afraid of the things it represents: loneliness, sadness, sickness, and even death. I'm not afraid of death either, or of dying, but I am afraid of the dead. And not ghosts or goblins or mummies or things of that nature. I am afraid of the feeling that death brings, and not my own physical feeling of dying, but the feeling that you get when others die. That sinister feeling that leaves you just so empty and lost in the world.

When I was six, my youngest sister was born. She was born missing part of her brain and because of that was severely disabled. She couldn't walk, talk, eat, or see — and from that day forward, I feared her death. I knew that her life here on earth would be very short. I feared the day I would have to help my family bury the sweet, little, innocent child I once knew as my sister. I feared the way I would react when this would happen. Every morning, I walked into her room and held my breath. I hoped and dreamed and prayed that when I walked in there, she would still be alive and well. It was like that every day, it became my normal.

Upon coming to college, my greatest fear adapted. I was now not only afraid of her death, but afraid that she would die while I was 600 miles away. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to hold her hand as she took her last breath and tell her it was okay to go. Well, my greatest fear came true.

I was 600 miles away. I couldn't hold her hand. I couldn't tell her that it was okay. The one thing that I thought would make my fear a little less frightening made it even worse.

And, what do you do when this happens, when your greatest fear comes true?

Well, you certainly don't become fearless or resilient — you develop new fears based off of that fear. These fears are so large, so abstract, that they can't be controlled by yourself or others.

I am now afraid of forgetting my sister. I'm afraid I'll forget her smile and her touch. I'm afraid that she's going to leave me more than just physically. I'm afraid that the happiness she gave me will be gone forever and her memory with it. I'm afraid that I didn't make her happy enough in her short time here. That I didn't hold her enough, play with her enough, or sing her favorite songs.

I can't face this fear as many others do. I can't make more memories or feel her touch. I have to just live through each day with that thought in my mind. I have to accept what I once thought was unacceptable. The day that I forget my sister is the day my mind turns empty. It is the day I am alone, in eternal darkness. So, I guess I am afraid of the dark and the unknown things that it brings with it.