I’m Not Dana

I’m Not Dana

From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

I’m Not Dana

Iam the force; I can clear any obstacle before me, or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.

Elaine Maxwell

My mother raised all three of us kids right, and that’s a fact. But for some reason two of us turned out right—and my older sister, Dana, didn’t.

When she went to the same elementary school where I go now, she was perfectly fine. She started having problems after she went into seventh grade. Dana dropped her old friends and began hanging with new people that our family didn’t know. No matter what my mom and dad said to her, she still did what she wanted. Everyone in the family was feeling terrible, especially me. I had always looked up to my sister and had wanted to be just like her. Now I just couldn’t figure out what was happening. Dana didn’t act as if she liked any of us anymore, and she never talked to me at all.

It kept getting worse and worse. By the time she was in high school, she had started drinking alcohol and staying out late at night. She only came home to take a shower, make a mess and then leave again. I couldn’t believe that this person was my sister Dana. My sister, who took D.A.R.E. and who had gone to church with us, had turned into a stranger.

One day when I was in sixth grade, I came home from school and heard screaming. I ran into the kitchen, and there was my dad, my mom, my grandma and Dana. They had Dana tied up on the floor, and my mom and grandma were holding her. Tears were running down Dana’s cheeks, and her face was all red from screaming. My dad was sitting on the floor next to her, and he was crying. The only other time I had seen my father cry was when his father died. I couldn’t stand to look anymore at what was going on, so I ran into my room and slammed the door.

Some people came and took Dana away. My mom and dad sent her to Utah, to a home for kids who have problems. We all miss her so much. She came home for a short visit this summer, but she can’t come home to stay yet. Sometimes my mom cries when we talk about her.

After Dana went away, I found this note in her room:

To Sabrina,

  When Death knocks, you hide in the corner, while I run and greet it.


I think she felt so bad about herself that she wanted to die. I think she felt like she had no control over the bad things she did to herself. I can’t imagine what happened to her to have her do the things that she did. But I do know this. I’m not going to drink, and I won’t do bad things to myself. I don’t want to ruin my future or regret my past. I hope that it’s not too late for Dana. She’s my sister and I still love her. Maybe someday she will find the person deep inside that she used to be—I know she’s still in there somewhere.

Sabrina Anne Tyler, age 11

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