Drive to Atlanta, Georgia

I consider myself a good friend. A 17 year long friendship with an older woman, disabled by Multiple Sclerosis, caused me to drive to Atlanta, Georgia. I swore I would never drive that far with my family for vacation to someplace like Disney World, but when my friend asked me to go get a lady who had arranged to rent a bedroom from her, and move her up here, I went. When I arrived and saw this woman's "home," I called my friend and asked if she really knew this person as well as the thought she did? I was ready to head back to Maryland without her. I'd taken another good friend of mine along on the long trip for company. She has cerebral palsy and so she stayed in my SUV while I helped Ester get her things. My friend assured me they'd been talking on the phone and emailing for over one year, and it would be fine.

I gave Ester 30 minutes to collect her things and put them into my 8 foot utility trailer. As I watched her pull soiled clothes from the 2 foot deep pile on the floor, I noticed they were covered with dog poop. I felt the floor sag with each step I took and roaches ran in every direction. I'd never seen anything like it! We stayed in a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina and management questioned me about her bizarre behavior and appearance. My friend, who was along for the ride, sensed something wasn't right about Ester too. There was no conversation on the way home because we didn't want to get Ester started.

I dropped Ester off at my friends house with a pair of pajamas and the bare necessities, because I didn't want her house to become infected with roaches. I took the clothes to a laundromat where I discovered balls of poop at the bottom of each load when I moved the clothes to the dryer. I fumigated the contents of the utility trailer parked in the water shed one mile from my home before taking them to her. I didn't want any of that near my property!

Within two months, Ester had her bedroom looking like her mobile home. She was unmedicated, violent bi-polar. After two months, she started to throw objects on the floor around my friends wheelchair so she couldn't move, and abused her mentally and physically. My friend noticed her things disappear around the house and Ester tried to run off everyone who came to visit my friend. It was February when my friend confided in me what was going on and asked me to help her get Ester out of her house. Having been a landlord, I was knowledgable about how to do that. I took my friend to the court house one day when Ester wasn't there. She filed papers and that evening Ester was removed by the sheriff to a women's shelter. The court hearing was two weeks later. No-one who lived hear her would take her to court in case I couldn't get there, so I made sure I did. I left my mountain home at 2 a.m. just before an ice storm arrived and would make traveling impossible. I drove 80 miles to pick up my friend and take her to court.

She was visibly upset and shaking before the judge while Ester sat very calmly across the room, confident and acting "normal". I sat beside my friend for emotional support, but when she couldn't put her thoughts into words she asked the judge if I could speak on her behalf, since I was very familiar with the situation. My friend is legally blind, so I had to enlarge the photos I took of Ester's home to 8x10 so she could see them. I had those photos with me, but Ester had no idea I'd taken them. When I showed the photos to the judge, Ester blew a gasket. The judge decided Ester wouldn't return to my friends home.

Eser 2 Ester 1

I told my very independent best friend, "If you will agree to let me handle your finances, I will make sure you don't need anyone to share your home and expenses again." She was in some credit card debt and paying the interest only on her mortgage. She was included in our family grocery budget for two years, and I helped her get out of debt. Our friendship was so much stronger that she hired be to be her caregiver when I was unable to work anywhere else. I began taking care of her and the first year her health improved so much that she not only stopped spending 5 days a week crashing in bed, but she purchased a hand cycle, lost 30 pounds, got off some of her medications, visited the local mall to have coffee with her new social group once a week, attended church regularly and took a college course on line. During the 5 years I worked for her, I got my health back and then I attended college too.

We didn't speak of Ester much, except to say God has a reason for everything. She and I were His way to get Ester out of Georgia so her family in Ohio could learn about her situation and get her the help she needed. She said there wasn't anything I could have said in Georgia that would have changed her mind about Ester coming to live with her, but when she saw the photos of Esters mobile home, she understood what I was trying to say to her in that moment. That experience brought us closer together as friends.