Good Neighbors Make Good Friends

Making good friends as you get older is hard or at least more difficult than it was when you were forced to spend time with others around your age in school or activities. But, I didn’t have trouble connecting with Monica when we met.

I was being taken to the hospital in an ambulance after suffering severe pain alone in my townhouse 15 years ago.

“Are you okay?” A woman shouted as the EMT’s lifted my gurney into the back of the ambulance. “Please don’t leave. I’m just going to run and grab a bra.”

“I don’t know her,” I said to the EMT.

Despite my mild protest, the EMTs waited for her to return.

“Please tell me who I can call to let them know you are in the hospital,” the woman said.

For some reason, I gave her my mom’s number and my then boyfriend’s number.

She called them. I know because when I woke up after a procedure my parents and partner were waiting for me.

When I returned home, that woman, Monica told me if I ever need anything she’d be there. She said that as single women we had to look out for each other. And, we did for 15 years.

When she got locked in her house, I took off the lock to free her. When my mother died, she waited for the man who was coming to do home repairs for me. Together, we freed a raccoon trapped in the wall between our houses. When my car was in the shop, she let me drive hers. When her niece wrote a book, I bought copies for my godchildren. If I was sick she’d text to check on me. And, I’d grab her packages and mail when she was away. In fact, she went out with me and my fiancé when we were just friends and predicted we’d end up together.

Saturday, I had my final dinner with Monica before she packed up to move away. I was secretly crushed because I knew I wasn’t just losing a good neighbor but also a good friend.

I told her I was sad but happy she’s doing what’s best for her.

She responded, “I’m leaving a house, not the people.”

#smallblessings #friendship #neighbors #mybrotherskeeper #invisibleillness #chronicpain #chronicillness #invisibleillness #disability #spoonie #autoimmunedisease #newark #singlewomen #sisterhood

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