First and foremost, I want to thank you all for your comments. The human capacity to care, love, empathize, and share is sometimes so staggering. And lil sis, your post managed to reduce me to tears.
And I was surprised with how the process of "pouring one's angst out onto paper" can be such a cathartic experience. Right after hitting that publish post button, I felt an actual lightness and sense of relief replace my inner tension -- like I had just screamed everything into a hole, filled it back up and then walk away from the whole mess. It was amazing.
But now I'll take this opportunity to report on a good shift -- away from lots of stress and anxiety. As a result of her drastic crash, my dear friend is seeking tremendous amounts of professional help. As to whether she chooses any of the options they give her, I wouldn't know because I choose not to go there with her.
I feel fine about what I'm doing with the organizing and coordinating of daily helpers. My efforts have mostly been through email and a few phone calls and everyone's been incredibly helpful, supportive, and flexible. The best part is that I don't have to work out any of the financial logistics. Someone else has gladly chosen to take that on.
Most importantly, I feel very dedicated in making sure that my friend's oldest daughter gets to where she needs to be (i.e., social engagements, hang out with her friends, returned home after dance class, etc.) and has the opportunity to be somewhere else, if she chooses. That baby girl has been like a second daughter to me (and has practically grown up with my own) that I'd just about move heaven and earth to support her. She's a great kid.
And currently I sit in a place of absolute freedom about NOT calling her if I don't feel I have the physical or mental energy to "walk the path" with her. I'll admit something to you all that gets at the heart of my personal struggle with this whole crisis -- I'm really a major conflict coward: I hate having to deal with personal drama. And unfortunately the presence of enormous drama is a huge component in my friend's personal life. My typically strategy, when having to deal with anything this uncomfortable, is to flee and stay hidden till things blow over. I figure, that way, I won't say anything callous or cold-hearted (out of emotional self-defense) and I'll never be tempted to judge another person's choices if I stay in that remote zone.
So here I am, in the remote zone, lending support in the best way I can and trying to maintain a healthy perspective of everything going on around me.