I have a new friend, but I won’t give her name because if she’s still alive I don’t want to embarrass her.
She was raised “in the system,” meaning that the welfare folks were always in charge of her life. She was in orphanages or group homes most of her life.
When she was once enrolled in a junior high, she was only there two weeks before she was kicked out. During that time, she organized students to stuff all the toilets with paper and at an appointed time to flush all at once. What another person might fantasize about, she actually did! As I told her, it took lots of leadership skills to make that happen in just two weeks with kids she had not previously known. So much for that school experience.
The only time she was in a foster home was the best time of her life. I wonder if that foster mother ever realized that. For her last year and a half of high school, she lived with a widow who was a good cook and good gardener and who taught her many things about an ordinary life.
But she has yet to live an ordinary life. For a while, she worked at a factory and “made good money.” But when the opportunity to go to college arose, she took it. Beset by health problems, she was constantly having to drop college classes, so she didn’t graduate until she was almost 26. She registered for Steve’s class four times before she actually completed the course. That’s how we met her.
Last week she turned 27. She is holding down two lowly jobs, trying to figure out how to repay all the college debt, and desperately ill. Two months ago it was pancreatitis; she doesn’t know what it is now. A friend took her to the emergency room, and she was so sick she didn’t even know what hospital she was in.
I called her Friday night, when she was in the unknown hospital. She sounded awful—speaking in a low, strung-out kind of voice. Her voice is husky anyway, but this time she was hard to understand.
I called her back Saturday morning around10:30. I asked which hospital she was in and she said she was home.
“Did they discharge you?” I asked, unbelieving. No, she just walked out of the hospital and got a cab home. She needed to go to work because she needed the money. I reminded her that she needed to stay hospitalized long enough to get well so she could work, but she dismissed the idea.
I called her again at 2 and she said, “I just feel so bad about everything.” I asked if she was in pain or feeling bad mentally and she said mentally, feeling bad about everything that had happened (whatever that was.) She said things couldn’t get worse and I assured her they could. I reminded her that she had two jobs with people who understood when she was sick and didn’t fire her.
I called again at 3 and she was no better. I kept asking if I could come get her, or just go stay with her a while, but she said no. Now I think I should have gone anyway.
Around 5, I looked at her FB page and saw a picture of a handful of pills. A friend had commented, “Antibiotics?” and she’d answered, “Antipsychotics!” That’s her kind of humor, so I thought maybe she was regaining balance. I left a message for her.
Around 9, I went to FB to see if she’d responded and her page was GONE. Her name is there when I look it up, but the page will not show up. I texted her to ask what was going on. I texted her again this morning but no answer. I called several times this afternoon. I went to her apartment and talked to people there when I couldn’t raise her. I called her workplace but because it’s a weekend got no answer in the offices. I texted her again that I am worried about her.
I had talked to the apartment manager and gotten his number, so I called him and asked him to go to her apartment and check on her. He said he is not allowed to do that. He also said someone saw her walking down the street last night. I doubt it, but I have no proof.
Now what recourse do we have? None. We have to wait till she’s not responded for 24 hours before we call the police. At least that’s what they say in the movies and tv.
I am mainly worried that she died without Jesus. I have had ample opportunities to talk to her, and I kept trusting the Spirit to guide me as to when to speak. I didn’t want her to think I was her friend just so I could convert her. I love her for herself, but I so want her to know Jesus as her Savior and friend and God as her father. She never knew a father’s love, and I desperately want her to rest in God’s embrace. Will I get another chance?