For the past eleven years, I’ve had a special neighbor who was just a phone call away. Since I have cerebral palsy, she would often pick up my mail when she got her own. Whenever I found myself in a predicament I could count on her to help me.
Even though she took medication, living with a mental illness was a constant battle for her. Every now and then, when her medicine wasn’t effective she needed to go into the hospital.
One year after she got out of the hospital she dropped of some groceries and I asked, “How are you doing?”
“I’m doing a lot better. I’ve had some therapy and my doctor adjusted my medicine.”
“That’s good.” I commented. “I need you, so please don’t hurt yourself.”
She assured me she wouldn’t. Nevertheless, whenever I heard an ambulance in our neighborhood, I called to see if she was okay.
This past Saturday while I was in my bedroom, I noticed an ambulance go by again. When I looked out of my dining-room window, I was alarmed to see several police cars also. Like always, I immediately called her to see if she was alright. The answering machine picked up. A sense of dread grew, the longer the police cars stayed in front of her building.
All too soon the apartment manager confirmed my worst fear. My friend had died. For a while some of her friends wondered if she’d taken her life, because her death was so sudden. She loved God and read her Bible and prayed almost more than anyone else I know. So, when someone asked whether I thought she went to heaven or hell. I answered, “Heaven, she’s already been in hell.”
A few days later, I heard she had died from natural causes. God had set her free and taken her to live in His presence.