She didn’t look like a heroin addict was supposed to look.
Beautiful and petite with long golden hair and big green eyes, T looked like a sorority girl. Not a junkie.
She was dating my neighbor, and he brought her over to a Christmas Cookie and Movie night I was having. At that point, none of us knew anything except how sweet T was and that she could make a mean bourbon ball.
Two weeks later a co-worker found her passed out in the bathroom at work.
My neighbor stuck with her as she flew to California to go to rehab, and actually told me the whole story while he helped me hang Missing Cat signs out on Thanksgiving morning when Sebastian first went AWOL. He wanted so badly for her to get better. When she came back a couple months later we all hung out a few times, having game nights or just sitting around with her talking and doing our nails. I loved her. A lot. Through our conversation I learned that she had lost both parents to domestic violence when she was only seven years old. Her only brother was also an addict, and her aunt and uncle had raised her but couldn’t deal with the drug use and didn’t allow her to live with them anymore. Basically, she had no one.
It wasn’t long before she was using again. My neighbor had vowed to be done with the relationship if she couldn’t stay clean, but he loved her, and so they argued, broke up and got back together again. It was a very volatile month, and I never knew whether they were off or on.
One early Thursday afternoon I suddenly felt sick to my stomach. Really nauseous.I had work later, but all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. Mystified, I reluctantly called out of work and laid down, trying to quell the waves. I hate throwing up, and thankfully I was able to fall back asleep without losing my lunch.
I woke up around four, feeling pretty normal, and went downstairs to make some food. As I passed the front window to go back upstairs I saw flashing red lights. I peeked outside. Three cop cars, a fire engine, and an ambulance blockaded the street just a few doors down. T’s car was parked there with the door open, and I saw a cop extract a little baggie from it. My blood ran cold.
I quickly made my way over. My neighbor was nowhere in sight.
“Excuse me!” I called out. “Do you have T in the ambulance?”
“Do you know her?” the cop asked.
“Yes, we’re friends! Is she okay? Did she overdose?”
“I can’t give out medical information, but she’s alive.”
He asked me a few questions about who she was and where she lived, and I told him what I could. I found out what hospital they were taking her to and then I called my neighbor to let him know what was happening.
He wasn’t interested in going to the hospital. He was done with a capital D.
I wasn’t. I threw on clothes and made my way over, praying the whole time, not sure what to expect when I reached the hospital. I probably wouldn’t get to see her. She might still be unconscious. To my surprise when I asked for her they led me straight back to the room.
T looked up in surprise when I pushed back the curtain. Then she immediately burst into tears. She looked so small and fragile in the thin hospital gown. I hugged her, and for the next hour sat with her, held her hand and prayed with her. I stayed with her until she was declared stable and was subsequently placed under arrest. I actually hoped that being held for a little while would help her detox and stay clean, but they released her later that night and she called me to let me know. She drove off, and during the next month I tried to help her however I could as she started a new job and eventually moved back in with her aunt and uncle.
I found out later that she had overdosed that day on purpose, feeling as if no one cared whether she lived or died. I believe with all my heart that God gave me that mysterious, short-lived illness that day to ensure someone would be there to speak love and life to her heart when she felt so utterly alone.
He loves us even at our worst. He is there in the darkest times, holding us, calling us to come into a safe place. Nobody can tell me God doesn’t care, because I’ve seen it and experienced it from both sides. Praise Him. I praise you, Jesus.
For a cloud of angels to encircle our loved ones struggling with addiction. For help, hope, and healing for them and their families.
*Miraculous, complete, and total healing from the mysterious disease causing painful masses in J’s back.