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The darkness suffocated me as I lay curled on the floor next to my family. My ears couldn't adjust to the deafening silence that surrounded us. I miserably hoped that today had just been a bad dream. Closing my eyes, the day's events replayed in my mind, over and over, like a broken record. It was August 12, 2003. Exactly two months earlier, on the twelfth of June, a miracle happened: my baby sister was born. Nevaeh wasn't an ordinary baby, though. She was born with a disease, called Trisomy 18. This disease affected her genetic structure, and she had many things wrong with her. Since the day she was born, my family waited with baited breath, for she could have passed away at any moment. That was a lot for me to take in at the time; see, I was only eight.

It was earlier that day that my mom came banging into my room.

"Taylor just called," she said, her eyes looking at me wearily. "She asked if you wanted to go over to her house today. How about it?" My eyes traveled down to her arms, where Nevaeh slept peacefully. It seemed like a crime to leave her. My mom seemed to know where my mind was headed. She plopped herself down on the bed next to me. "When was the last time you went out and had a good time?" she asked.

"It's been a while," I admitted sheepishly. Looking down at the bed, I fidgeted with the sleeves of my shirt.

"Go spend time with your friends," Mom encouraged me. "Nevaeh will be here when you get back. I promise!" I bit my lip. Then, I took a deep breath and made the corners of my mouth turn up in a smile.

"Okay," I told her. "I'll go." An hour later, I was settled in Taylor's car, her mom, Tammie, waiting impatiently at the steering wheel. I waved goodbye to Nevaeh and my parents out the window. Then Tammie whisked us away without a backward glance.

Later, we ended up going to the Science Museum. As we wandered around the building, we saw that they had a storm exhibit there, complete with a green, whirling tornado. Taylor and I, being storm lovers, thought it was awesome. We sprinted toward it. While we were there, we learned everything there was to know about tornadoes, from how they were made to the impact they had on people's lives. When we were done, Tay and I saw storms in a whole new light: they were destructive, they were dangerous, and they could ruin people's lives. Though I didn't know it at the time, this was a very good comparison to the disease that was taking over my sister.

"That was so sad," Taylor mumbled as we trudged our way out of the exhibit.

"I know. But that would never happen to us. Bad things don't really happen, right?" I reassured her.

"Yeah," she agreed. "Bad things don’t happen to us." We smiled and laughed, then skipped out to meet Tammie. After visiting the rest of the museum, Taylor and I raced out to the car, laughing and having a good time. We drove out of the parking lot with smiles. I didn't think that day could have gotten any better. It's too bad that it was about to get a lot worse.

Ring! Ring! The cell phone buzzed on the front seat. Tammie picked it up as we pulled into my driveway. "Hello?" She looked over at me and whispered, "It's your mom!" For several minutes, she held that phone to her ear and listened intently. Her face grew graver and graver with every passing second. Finally, with a look of sadness on her face, she breathed three words into the receiver: "Oh. I'm sorry." I looked curiously at her. Her eyebrows were pulled together, and she bit her lip. The corners of her mouth quivered, and she glanced at me. "We just pulled up out front," She said faintly. The door of my house burst open. My mom stood there, tears streaming down her cheeks, the blood completely drained from her face. I felt as if a knife had been driven through my heart. No, I thought fiercely. I shot out of that car faster than a bullet from a gun.

"Nevaeh," I cried with a choked sob. "Where's Nevaeh?" Mom's arms hung limp at her side, absent of the very person I wanted to see. Her tears fell faster, her eyes turned red.

"She's gone," Mom whispered. I stared at her in shock, hot tears flowing steadily down my cheeks. I made my feet slowly drag themselves into the house. My dad sat with Nevaeh in a chair, holding her gently. A wave of misery swept through me. She looked so peaceful. She could have been sleeping.

It's been six years now since I walked through that door. I've learned many things since that day, the most important being that bad things can happen. But whether it be getting your house destroyed in a tornado, or losing someone you love, sometimes it's the bad things that will teach us the greatest lessons. Nevaeh showed me how to never take things for granted, because at any moment they can be snatched away from you. Bad things can happen, but they're not always for the worse. No matter what happens in my life, I will forever keep that lesson, and her, close to my heart.





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