Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ascension hope



It's a strange juxtaposition to watch the lush unfurling of spring as we accompany dad in his gradual decline. Life outside is burgeoning as his life wanes. These days have been so beautiful - warm, and sunny, with highs in the 80s - and yet quite bittersweet. We are grateful, but sad. It has been especially poignant to follow the rhythms of the liturgical season; the readings and prayers during the time between Easter and Pentecost are full of jubilation at Christ's resurrection, the promise of his presence with us, the hope that eternal life with him awaits us.

Tomorrow is the day when the Church remembers Christ's ascension to heaven, 40 days after the resurrection. Jesus said that he was leaving to go and prepare a place for us, and that he wouldn't leave us alone but would send the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and advocate. How we need that assurance during this difficult time.

In the past week or so, dad has been sleeping a lot (20+) hours a day and doesn't have energy to do much more than the minimum that his basic needs demand. On Monday, hospice sent a hospital bed that we set up in the living room, where dad is now spending most of his time. He has intermittent periods of wakefulness, but isn't able to sustain much conversation. He eats, but not a lot. Nick and I sometimes read to him. In the morning we've continued to pray together as a family. All of dad's siblings and his mother have been here to visit within the past week or two, and those have been especially sweet times, even when he has been less lucid. We've had lots of help and company when we've needed it, and plenty of quiet downtime with just the five of us too.

As you can imagine, it is difficult to write this post. After all these years and so many bends in the road in my dad's journey with cancer, we are finally approaching the end. For as much as we are all at peace, having said all we can say and done all we can do, it still feels surreal to think that his death is so imminent. Our task now is to be present, to simply be with him, together, as he prepares to embark on his journey home. As his earthly body quietly shuts down, we rest in hope that he will be raised again in a heavenly body. And we trust that he is not "leaving" us, but rather going before us to that place Jesus promised to prepare.

"I know that my Redeemer lives and on the last day I shall rise again. In my body I shall look on God, my Savior. I myself shall see him; my own eyes will gaze upon him." (Job 19:25-27)


14 comments:

Eric Skinner said...

Hi Allison. You post as good as your Pop. I am very impressed. I have a heavy heart these days regarding your Dad. He and I have been more than just friends these past 10 years or so and I miss him greatly, and will miss him all the more if and when he passes. Is he strong enough for one more visit from me? You can reach me at my email at ericskinnertw200@comcast.net. Thanks, Allison for all that you have done for him. No man could have a more loving daughter.

Lisa Hanley said...

Hi Peter (and Family),

Thank you very much for letting us all share in this journey with you. I stumbled across this blog last June after my own melanoma diagnosis. The first post that I read was the one where you were summarizing the events of the patient symposium at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. After that post I kept coming back often. But then there were more postings that followed that were more religious in nature. I am not a religious person, so normally I would just skip over these types of posts. However, since you have such a great way with words, I have read all of the religious posts too. And the surprising thing is that I have found a tremendous amount of comfort in those posts. So I really want to thank you for baring your soul and sharing these insights with us.

I am deeply saddened to see how things have changed over the course of this past year. But I just wanted to let you know that your blog has made a big impact on me. You have shown me how to be a good person, live a good life, love your family and how to face death with dignity. I am inspired by your strength and by your faith. As always, you have given me a lot to think about.

When I commented last June about your post, you left me a nice message and signed off with, “May God protect you and watch over your care. Blessings, Peter”. Now I’m not sure if it’s okay for person who’s not very religious to say this, but I truly wish the same for you…. May God protect you and watch over your care and also watch over your family. My sincerest thanks, Lisa

Tom said...

That is one of the most beautiful posts I've ever read online. I agree completely with Eric's comment above, Allison. No Dad could have a more loving, honoring daughter, And Peter, I'm eager to someday see you standing next to Christ, welcoming the rest of us.

Debbie said...

My thoughts and heart are with all of you.

Melissa Bee said...

My prayers for all of you . . . your dad and your entire family have been a blessing and example to me.

Courage, love and selflessness have all marked your dad's and his family's journey.

May this time be as beautiful as it is difficult...God bless and keep you and may angels guard your journey.all of

Anonymous said...

Allie, your love for your dad, your family AND your God are so evident in your post. As I contemplate the physical realm, my heart too is heavy, but I also have hope. Peter's story isn't finished.
Your Dad has deeply impacted my life and I look forward to the day I will see him again, standing with the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before, fully restored with his new body.
May our God continue to uphold you with His peace and give you times of sweetness to savor with your Dad.
My love to all the Ogles. Karen

Brenda said...

Dear Peter,
I've only commented on one of your posts, but I've read every one and shared many with friends and colleagues. I will always carry with me your insights, whether they were on healthcare, journalism or even how to get tomatoes to ripen in Oregon summers. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your wonderful, loving family. Brenda

Nancy said...

Peter, I have admired your writing ever since we studied together in the technical journalism courses at OSU. You were always so good at delving into complex issues and interpreting and explaining them with clarity and reason. Who could have known that your study of forestry would prepare you for interpreting and sharing your views on the meaning of life, love, godliness, community, and so many other topics that touch us all.
While I am deeply saddened that we're unlikely to hear more from the Ogler himself, it is comforting to read words that echo your thoughtfulness, elegant style and clear voice - channeled through Nick, and now Allison, who has her own wonderful way with words. It comforts me to know that they and Ellen and Jon are at your side. Please know that our family is praying for you and your family and loving circle of friends.

Anonymous said...

Allison, Thank you. I always stop whatever I am doing and read the latest post from your dad when it pops up in my email. He is a kind friend, a good mentor to a young journalist like me, and I am appreciative of all the times he took to talk with me and let me share with his students. Thinking of him often at this time. NancyR10

Anonymous said...

Allie: I will respect your Mom's advise and cherish my last conversations with your Dad instead of a visit.
Please continue to keep us informed.
Thanks very much.
Keith

Josue said...

Alli, Yo pense que era tu padre el que escribio el blog hasta que vi que eras tu. Verdaderamente eres una gran hija te admiro por tu amor hacia tu padre y por el cuidado que le estas brindando. Eres un hijo muy ejemplar de gran bendiciĆ³n a tu padre y a toda tu familia. Estamos orando por toda la familia. Lo amamos mucho. Ustedes son muy especiales para nosotros.
Con mucho amor JosuƩ & Hilda.

grsmouse said...

Thanks, Allie, for your posts. I thought much Wednesday night about what I could write and realized that it would be more for our benefit than yours. We could and did pray for God's grace and encouragement in these probably last days here before Peter is 'present with the Lord'.

Glenn, for both of us. We love you all.

Rick, the Zone Captain said...

Dear Ellen, Nick, and Allison,
I am an acquaintence of your dad's from his First Pres Church Berkeley days. I was fortuneate to have re-connected with him on a visit to Corvallis a couple of years ago. Praying for each on of you.

Dear Peter,
I am so glad to have re-connected with you in recent years. Your blog has really contributed to my ongoing graduate work at Fuller (slowly towards hospice chaplaincy). So much of what you and your family have shared has and will continue to touch many lives. I find comfort in my heartache through your words. Thank you for caring for all of us as we follow your journey. Peace to you my Brother.
In Christ,
Rick

David Egerter said...

Peter, Ellen, and family,
You are in our thoughts. Life is good for us as we are just about to attend Beryl's graduation from Harvey Mudd. Peter, please consider, if you haven't already, having someone collect your blogposts into a book. You have had and will continue to have a large impact on this world and are leaving it a better place for having inhabited it. Peace to you.
Dave