“I Have Heart Failure” …words I Never Thought I Would Hear

~Shemeka Michelle



“I have bad news. I’m in the hospital with heart failure”. Those are the words I heard coming from one of my best friends. “What does that mean?” was my reply really just trying to make sense of what she had just told me. I knew exactly what I heard her say. However, it sounded like complete nonsense considering she was just full of life the night before being her usual confrontational self; the person I love so much. I think we ended that initial call because a doctor or nurse came in her room. I stood there with so many thoughts going through my head as my eyes welled up with tears. I knew I wouldn’t be able to function without going to the hospital to look into her face. I had to get to her immediately but not before crying on my boyfriend’s shoulder as he encouraged me to be strong for her.

This morning I cried again. While I believe she’s going to be okay (she’s been diagnosed with Stress Cardiomyopathy which means the heart can recover but doctors are baffled by that and still unsure), I absolutely HATE what she’s going through. Throughout the last week and a half, she’s had moments that she was so sick and weak that the pain coming from her voice has been soul shattering for me. I didn’t even hear pain like this when she lost her father or grandma. She’s always appeared so strong which may be why her heart is tired. In one month she has gone from taking the microphone to lip sync at the club for her birthday to moments of extreme weakness barely being able to walk. In exactly one month, I went from sitting beside her chair on the floor lip synching Mary’s lines as she performed Method Man’s “All that I need” for other party goers to sitting beside her hospital bed. It just doesn’t seem fair. My heart goes out to her children but for the first time in a very long time, I’ve realized just how much she means to ME.

I need my friend. Of course I have other friends but none like this one. First of all, we’ve been friends for over 20 years and I can’t recall a break in friendship. Sure we’ve had periods in life when we didn’t talk everyday and there were certainly times when we were living different lifestyles. But, neither of us ever walked away from the friendship. When it comes to my closest friends, Christina and I are so much alike it’s scary. Kenita has known me since I was 7 years old and gets my dry humor like no other but Charissa is the one that could write an accurate tell all book about me but never would.  While others are wondering if I’ll be a star, in her eyes I already am. To say she believes in me is a true understatement.

When I speak to her or see her she says I make her feel better. It’s only because I take moments like today to weep. Then I pull myself together to stand in strength. I don’t like that I can’t fix this for her. I wish I could just change everything for her for the better but I can’t and I hate it. She’s a trooper though and she’s going to be just fine. Some feelings will probably get hurt in the process because she’s always said whatever she wanted to and now she’s using her “my heart is only at 15%” pass (insert needed laughter). My heart is breaking but now that I’ve wept and written, I feel stronger. I’ll leave you with these words that now go far beyond a movie to me…..

“Lean on Me, when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on. For it won’t be long ‘til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on”



Charissa (pictured) has written for the blog as well. Check out her blogs and hopefully she’ll share this from her point of view soon.




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