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February 6, 2022

Last summer, I was hospitalized three times for a total of seventeen days. I have had a great medical team working with me. My complicated diagnosis has several challenges. Among those is heart failure. One of my sisters called to mind a poem I wrote nearly ten years ago for my dad when he was diagnosed with heart failure. It still has the ring of truth.

Unable to catch my breath,

Exhausted from putting on my socks,

I knew something was wrong,

A touch of the flu,

Allergies, or

A cold coming on.

I knew something was wrong.

When the good Lord created me

He breathed into me the breath of life.

I have always appreciated that,

The gift of fresh air filling my lungs,

Like everybody else,

I took it for granted.

Never again!

Short of breath,

Legs swollen,

Talking makes me tired.

So they wheeled me in to see the cardiologist,

Who conferred with my family doctor,

In whispered tones,

As if I didn’t know something was wrong.

And the next day,

To the hospital,

I saw the sign,


“Surely I don’t belong here!”

The stupid video

Confirmed every symptom.

Congestive heart failure.

The nurse practitioner

Listened to my heart,

And to my lungs,

And sent me home.

“There’s no need to come back.”

I knew something was wrong.

Heart failure?

I don’t think so.

This blood pump in my chest

May give out,

But my heart will never fail,

Not now,

Not after all these years.

“Lord, all my desire is before You;

My sighing is not hidden from You.

 My heart pants, my strength fails me;

 For in You, O Lord, I hope;

You will hear, O Lord my God.

 Do not forsake me, O Lord;

 O my God, be not far from me!”

“Whom have I in heaven but You?

There is none upon earth.

That I desire besides You.

My flesh and my heart fail;

But God is the strength of my heart,

My portion forever.”

My heart will not fail.

My heart will not fail!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

 Renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 Do not cast me away from Your presence,

 Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”

My children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will know,

My heart did not fail!

My heart will not fail!

My God has spoken,

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Be strong and of good courage;

Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed,

For the Lord, your God is with you

Wherever you go.”

Heart failure?

This heart of flesh will fail,

Grow weaker,

And stop.

But my heart of hearts will never fail,

Because God, the desire of my heart,

My heart will never fail!

Kirk H. Neely

April 3, 2011

For Dad, Kirk Neely

November 14, 1920 – April 3, 2011

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