“Barry, What Are You Doing?”

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During her first visit to our house, our Hospice nurse walked over to Libby’s bed and gasped, “I know you” as she looked over and saw Libby for the first time, she then fumbled with her cell phone to show us a picture of Libby sent to her by a friend who asked if she would help pray for a sweet lady with stage four cancer, then looking at Libby she said, “Mrs. Gilley, we have never met, but I feel like I know you because I have been praying for you everyday for two months. ”

By the first of March Libby was sleeping for about twenty two hours a day but it seemed as if the girl who woke up after each one of those long naps was a little less “Libby” than the girl that went to sleep the day before.  In an attempt to make the most of the time when Libby was conscious and I came up with a brilliant idea for a surprise the next time she woke up (or at least I thought it would be a brilliant idea).

I knew very early in our marriage that Libby was a cuddler, she liked nothing more than to snuggle up on the couch with me to watch a Hallmark movie or take a nap.  Although I always had good intentions of reciprocating the cuddle, I could only stand it for a short time because my arm would fall asleep or it just got too hot to snuggle, especially during one of her hot flashes.

My “brilliant” plan was to lie down next to Libby in her hospital bed while she slept and simply hold her until she woke up. In my mind I imagined Libby gently waking in my arms as I brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes just like the hero did in the aforementioned Hallmark movie.  Now, this is where those pesky details hinder my storytelling because technically Libby didn’t have any hair, the gesture wasn’t romantic and she didn’t wake up very gently. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me tell you what really happened:

As I quietly slipped into the hospital bed my plan was coming together, Libby was still sound asleep and we were cuddling.  The problem was, I had accidentally sat on the bed’s remote control buttons and as the motors whined, the foot of the bed and the head of the bed began rising simultaneously in an attempt to make us into a Taco Supreme Combo. Suddenly awake, very upset and extremely uncomfortable, Libby said, “Barry, what are you doing?”

I finally quit butt-dialing the remote and managed to reverse the motion of the bed while trying to explain to Libby, “I’m sorry, I just wanted to cuddle”.  Libby had a look in her eyes that I had come to know well in last few weeks–she reached for her pink kidney shaped bowl and threw up. Not exactly the Hallmark response I was after.


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