Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

The Difference Between Fear and Worry, and the Fear of Dying

My first thought about this week’s Finish the Sentence Friday prompt of “I’m afraid of/that…” was that I could write about my fear of dying.

But then I thought about the difference between fear and worry, and what that means.

My fear of spiders and other all bugs (except fireflies because they are awesome and who’s afraid of fireflies? Not this girl!).

My second thought was “Well, this is dumb. Who the $%^*& things of these stupid sentences anyway?” Who wants to write about what she’s afraid of?

And who thought of this sentence???

Oh, right.

I did.

I usually think of these sentences, and then stare at a blank screen and wonder what in the world to write. I’m certainly not going to write about spiders and other bugs, although I fear them.

I could write about dying, because I fear that, too…

Although, when it comes to dying, do I actually fear it?

“Yes, you fear it!” my blood shouts.


It’s a different feeling than for-real actual fear.

Maybe, fear and worry are two different things.

Here’s how I see the difference…


You get older and realize when people die, it’s for real.

You see that it’s not like it was at your grandfather’s funeral. That was sad, as was burying your dog in the backyard, after he was hit by a car, or hit by cancer.

You passed the dog’s ashes around, each of you bawling, spreading them in the yard, sharing stories. Death is real, and it could happen to you.

To any of us. I know this.

To your kid.

Worry is when you think about exiting malls and a satellite falls from the sky.

The same mall trip could have a sink-hole, filled with lava. This is worry versus fear, I think.

Or, you know. You. Could. Die.

You are at a viable age to die.

And that’s sucky in the biggest, suckiest way possible. That your death would no longer be a tragedy in the history of deaths.

Getting that. The worry, though.

You’re old enough that your death would no longer be a tragedy.

Still, worry.

You’re that old. You’re not *that* old. Not a viable dying age…

You could die from a trip to the mall.You’re definitely worried about dying, and what will happen when you do. It’s not so much about you dying, as well, you’re the better parent. What will happen without you?

That’s the worry.

The fear? It’s a little different.


You don’t remember the minutes before or after, but remember the buzz in your head. You look at your hands and notice they’re shaking.

You’re hiding behind a dumpster, after a man followed you home from the bus stop. You don’t know how long you wait. Cell phones weren’t yet invented, and waiting is your only hope.

You wonder if you’re paranoid. Maybe he was just going the same way home?

You’re not, you know. Or think. You’re too afraid to think straight. He’s been on the bus before and wasn’t on this route before, except for last night and tonight.

You knew before he got off the bus that he saw you tonight, and wasn’t just hoping for a date. You know when to be afraid, even as you doubt what that’s really like. After all, nothing actually bad has ever really happened to you.

Not like *that* anyway.


You’re running. Listening to music. You’re happy, flying. In your groove. You’re mesmerized by the fact that your steps have rhythm although you’ve never been able to keep a beat in a dance club without a vodka or two.

You’re running, and free, and healthy. This is you now.

You’re running girl.

There’s a snake on the path, and the buzzing of fear and panic in your ears is so loud and so fast. Weird, because while your body speeds up, your thoughts slow.

You wonder whether it’s true that sucking the venom out works. Your heart rate is high. Will that accelerate the poison? You look around. You’re alone. Just you and the snake.

You leap over it.

It doesn’t strike, but does, in your dreams for years.



This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s topic is “I’m afraid of/that…”

Link up with me here, or with my new co-host Kenya at Sporadically Yours but do link up. We love to hear your thoughts.

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  • JT Walters - I have lots of worry but when everything has either died or been taken then what left do I have to fear. If I can’t change my situation then why worry.

    Fear and worry is for people who still have things to lose. I have already lost everything and frankly death will be a relief. That is how I feel and you know why.February 1, 2018 – 11:38 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - That breaks my heart but I understand. Although I do think that you can still change things. Maybe that’s me being naive.February 3, 2018 – 9:29 pmReplyCancel

      • JT Walters - I hope you are right. I think it is a beautiful thought and not naive.😊February 3, 2018 – 10:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Blinston - Ha! I just dreamed of a snake biting me this week! It was scary. Thanks for hosting! Happy FridayFebruary 2, 2018 – 12:04 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - I’m glad I didn’t read this last night because certainly that snake would have come! Is it okay that I laughed at the sinkhole. I think irrationally like that too. LOL! We had several potholes in our neighborhood after the big snow. So I was wondering if the ice had been so heavy that the road would cave in to sinkholes. They’ve been fixed. I guess I can relaz about that.

    As for *that* old – that’s what I say about my parent. They aren’t *that* old. 🙁February 2, 2018 – 6:42 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m glad then too that you didn’t. Because I’d feel guilty forever! Weird about the potholes and sinkholes. I don’t think they’re related but sinkholes are scary in general and when do they happen? Yikes. Ugh to *that* old. Same, with the parents…February 3, 2018 – 9:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Vickie - I think death is a given for many of us. Snakes! I do get that!!!February 2, 2018 – 8:57 amReplyCancel

  • Debi - I was running once and nearing a woman walking two German Shepards. I knew that I shouldn’t run right up behind them and startle them, so I made a wide arc onto the grass to the left of them. The dogs were startled anyway and both of them lunged at me, snarling and growling and barking while the woman walking them struggled to put her phone away and get control of the leashes. I have never run a faster 1/10 of a mile, not before and not since. They never touched me, but they were SO SCARY that I now run wide arcs around every dog in my path: Yorkies, elderly retrievers, our neighbor’s chihuahua-and-maybe-potbelly-pig mix. I just do not want to be scared like that. I get it!February 2, 2018 – 11:58 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Wow. That sounds so so scary… and also LOL to the maybe-potbelly-pig mix. My last dog was a shepherd and he was the most gentle creature ever, but I now they aren’t all that gentle. There’s a reason we’re afraid of them… Thank you. I’m so glad you told me about this.February 3, 2018 – 10:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - You’re right that there is a distinction between fear and worry and yet sometimes we muddle the two together. I feel as if fear is more prominent and yet momentary while worry is persistent and often nagging below the surface. Either way, I missed your drawings — they made me smile today. 🙂February 2, 2018 – 12:44 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Emily. I so appreciate you saying so about the drawings… I didn’t know what to write and sortof hated this prompt even though I came up with it… The fear and worry, they are so often tangled up together.February 3, 2018 – 10:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I don’t think you’re at that age yet! When my grandfather died 100, we called it sad. My father at 36? Tragedy.
    I’m not afraid of sinkholes or lava or satellites. But when I think of malls, I’m afraid of active shooters.February 2, 2018 – 4:37 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I guess the fact that we’re all at that age every day is what scares me. Your dad, tragedy. And omg to the active shooters.February 3, 2018 – 10:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Pat B - I really enjoy your artwork here. They are so cute, and really help present your message in a great way.
    I don’t really fear what comes after death, but the timing of my death is a concern because of what that might mean to others.
    Having that dream for years would make me not want to go to bed.
    Thanks for the prompt this week.February 3, 2018 – 12:48 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you for your sweet words about my silly drawings, Pat. And yeah… I think I never feared death until I had a little boy who is now only 8, and I can’t imagine him not having me…. Gah. So glad you linked up!!!February 3, 2018 – 10:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - My grade eight class went to camp for a week and my sister came along, as a sort of guide for me. Well, we were playing that survival game, and I was given the distinction of being Mother Nature. We were walking in the woods on the camp’s land, just the two of us, when suddenly I heard a hissing sound in front of us. Well, it sounded like hissing, at first, but then my sister stopped walking abruptly and told me to back up, slowly. We’d come across a rattlesnake and that wasn’t hissing. It was the warning rattle it was giving us.

    I was afraid in that moment. A lot of games we’d play, like that one where you run and jump over something. Not a snake though, not unless absolutely necessary.


    I do see your difference between fear and worry. I have been one or the other, but sometimes, the two get kind of tangled up.

    Lots of fears and worries. Not sure I can settle on what to write about for this one, but I’ll see. I am actually distracting myself with writing on my blog, when I have other writing I should be doing, some paid work that really needs to get completed.

    Thanks for this distraction.February 3, 2018 – 1:50 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG Kerry, that’s terrifying. I, too, heard that sound and deleted it from this post because it was too long already and I didn’t like it but had that same experience with the rattle.. wow.
      To the in general fear and worry… Yes, I get that. I need to write for some paid stuff too but gah, I just want to sleep right now 🙂February 3, 2018 – 10:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - Interesting point about fear vs worry…I think fear is more motivating than worry. If I’m scared, I do something to make myself not scared. Worrying is more passive, and always less effective.

    A viable age to die…ugh. I refuse to believe that until…well, until later. Much later.February 7, 2018 – 4:07 pmReplyCancel

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