back to Patricia Allen page   by Howard & Jodi Page-Clark, UK

To the friends of Patricia Allen  (newest first)

  23 Nov   22 Nov   21 Nov   20 Nov   19 Nov   18 Nov   17 Nov   16 Nov

Wed 23 Nov: There will be a mass at 9 am at St Louis Hospital Chapel, followed by burial at Mount Zion cemetery, overlooking the Mount of Olives. The Sisters sweetly arranged this at this time so that we could be part of the service, and contribute musically and in terms of tributes.

Jodi and I leave for the airport immediately after the burial, and Elaine leaves Israel the following day. We will email a fuller account of tomorrow's events in due course, but please let people know the time of the funeral, though we realise for many they may not learn of the time before it happens.

Our love and thanks, Howard & Jodi

Tues 22 Nov: Patricia died peacefully at about 11pm last night (21 November) with Elaine at her bedside.

Her funeral mass will be held at the St Louis Hospital chapel, possibly on Thursday morning, followed by a burial ceremony at the Mount of Olives.

We will send more details of the arrangements when they have been confirmed.

Jodi and I are just off to Jerusalem to meet with the sisters to plan her funeral, and to collect Elaine and finally bring her back to Abu Gosh.

We are very conscious of your prayers and thank you for your support at this time of grief.

It is extraordinary that the Lord should have taken two of these sisters - Emmi and Pat - to be with Him on the same day.

with our love, Howard and Jodi

Mon 21 Nov: Patricia is dying. Last night we picked up Elaine McGruder from the airport, and when she heard our description of Pat's decline, she asked if we could take her, not to Abu Gosh, but to St Louis Hospital at Jerusalem, which we did, arriving just before the finish of the official visiting time (8 pm). Elaine is an expert in hospice care. She felt that someone needed to stay with Pat overnight. Although they are not set up for it, and don't usually allow it, they agreed Elaine could stay at Pat's bedside. We then drove back to Abu Gosh, returning first thing in the morning, expecting to leave Jodi there and take Elaine back to Abu Gosh. Instead we decided to remain together at Pat's bedside, and have been there singing, praying, and reading scriptures intermittently throughout the day.

Sister Johanna and other sisters and some of the Philippino 'novices' arrived early evening from the hospital where Sister Emmi has been in intensive care for the past few days, with the news that she had just passed away. Emmi's funeral is to be on Wednesday.

Meanwhile a doctor who is a specialist in care for the terminally ill came to see Patricia, and in consultation with Elaine decided to change her care regime, and she was given some morphine. She has slowly declined, and her eyes, so recently full of life, often open and looking around, are now closed and unmoving, and her hands and feet are cold. You can never tell for sure, but it seems unlikely that she will last the night. Her breathing is laboured and shallow. Elaine opted again to stay with Patricia through the night, and we shall return first thing tomorrow.

If, as seems likely, Patricia dies in the next 24 hours, we decided together that we would ask those who have been upholding her in prayer to contribute short memories by email (say a paragraph) from which a number could be read out at her funeral, since the Sisters know her ministry well over the last nearly 20 years, but know nothing really of her amazing life before then. Suggestions for an Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel reading for her service are also most welcome.

Jodi and I said we would return to Abu Gosh so we could email you with this request. We are leaving Israel on Thursday 24th, so any contributions and suggestions need to reach us by Wednesday at the latest, and we can then pass them on to the Sisters who will arrange Patricia's funeral. Patricia has chosen a burial plot on the Mount of Olives. We understand that the Israeli government will reimburse the Sisters the cost of all funeral expenses.

Our thanks and love, Howard and Jodi

Sun 20 Nov: Today we found Patricia much weaker. She lies unmoving except for shallow breathing. The hospital sheets have a delicate repeated print of small blue flowers which gives a spring-like feel to her bed, and her silver-grey hair looks distinguished, swept back against the pillows. In the morning we prayed quietly beside her, and her eyes remained closed, except for a brief interlude when I prayed the Aaronic blessing over her as we left.

There was a note from John LaNoue and his mother Kaywin who had been with Patricia earlier. John's father had known Patricia in her high school days and early twenties as a Southern Baptist. Amazingly they were staying next door to St Louis at the Notre Dame retreat centre. We had lunch with them, and returned with them to Pat's beside, praying together quietly. We sang the 23rd psalm (Crimond) and read Psalm 90, before we left. John and Kaywin will return to be with her this evening, and Sr Johanna and one of the Philippino sisters were arriving too, as we left.

We will sign off now, since we are shortly off to Tel Aviv to collect Elaine McGruder from the airport, and bring her back to Abu Gosh. Your prayers will sustain Pat on her heavenward journey, as we believe the angels are ministering to her more effectively than we can.

our love, Howard and Jodi

Sat 19 Nov:  This morning we found Pat lying prone, not propped up at all. The oxygen mask has become a permanent feature and she has a new saline drip. She was aware we were beside her but all her energy was focused on her breathing, which is very laboured. A doctor appeared briefly and prodded her chest all over with a stethoscope. He said nothing, but the look on his face told us it was bad news. We wonder if she has pneumonia. We read a scripture from Genesis to her telling of Jacob's dream of the angels at heaven's gate and we read her Psalm 23. We prayed and sang a little as well.

We left to get some lunch very thankful for Jane's counsel to bring an umbrella. We walked in the rain to our favourite coffee shop and chatted with the owner, Elias, who asked us to pray for his daughter-in-law (only in her twenties) who has a recurrence of cancer, her name is Reya.

Today was a huge contrast to the difficult visit yesterday with Pat. This afternoon she was peaceful and somewhat detached. Returning after lunch to be with her, we found her eyes closed and the whole room was very peaceful. I felt she could pass on at any moment. I said the Rosary for her and we prayed and sat quietly for sometime. Both Howard and I felt that the angels were there and it was a very holy place to be. It's a small ward, 5 metres square, with two other patients besides Patricia. It has a very high ceiling and we reckon there's space for a whole host of angels. I think we both feel it is not necessary for us to pray for the Lord to take her, but rather to pray for her peace and sense of being loved during her transition. We sensed a new depth of the Lord's peace covering Patricia, and we trust this update conveys that same peace to you.

Much love, Howard and Jodi

Fri 18 Nov: Today was more difficult for us. Jodi did not sleep much, and I have a cold. I woke from a dream that we felt was suggesting that we not treat Pat as if she were dying, but just quietly accompany her, waiting with her in her present wilderness rather than subconsciously trying to push her over the Jordan.

Having finally located the needed key in one of Pat's many bags, Sr Johanna had retrieved Pat's PO Box mail yesterday, and brought to us at breakfast a great bag of letters and packets, a few of which we looked at together. But Johanna clearly found it very difficult, and asked us if we could look at the bulk of the envelopes for her, which Jodi did later. Johanna asked us for prayer, so we stopped and prayed for her, and I believe she found a new spring in her step. She feels very much the burden of caring for her sisters and especially the two who are so unwell, and at such an inconvenient distance from Abu Ghosh (or Gosh).

After a time of opening Pat's mail (much of which was written in September or October) and contacting a few by email who had sent (now useless) cheques made out to Patricia, we set off for Jerusalem in the rain. Any future contributions to Patricia's support should be channeled through the Sisters of St Joseph, either directly to their bank account, or via cheque posted to Soeurs de St Joseph, Notre Dame Arche d'Alliance, B. P. 32233, 91322 Jerusalem, Israel. The Sisters' Jerusalem PO Box is more secure than mailing anything to Abu Gosh. Sr Johanna has fully paid the Jewish Hospital fees (which were as much as a full month's care at St Louis Hospital/Hospice) from funds already received, but obviously there is money still owing to St Louis for Pat's ongoing care. We were able to pass on a gift from Sylvia Hawkes, but had to tear up the cheques from others made out personally to Patricia, since she is unlikely to ever be able to sign them over to the Sisters.

We found her propped up almost to a sitting position in bed, her face almost covered by an oxygen mask and various tubes, and clearly labouring over every breath. She was clearly glad to see us, and moved her 'good' hand quite a bit, as well as having her eyes open much of the time.

We sensed she is in more pain (though one of the nurses told us she is on pain medication, just that her body is 'very weak' - though that is so obvious we were not sure how it was related to her pain level, unless her weakness prevents them giving her higher doses of say morphine?).

We also sensed her frustration/anger at not being able to communicate verbally at all. We sang a little, but stayed much longer in silence, just holding her hand and offering silent prayers - joined we know by yours - not sure who was more distressed really, her or us. Not that anything there is actually silent, with Jerusalem traffic and sirens outside the window, and unsavoury gurglings and cries from other suffering patients, and staff calling to one another in Arabic, French or Hebrew.

We were so thankful for a parking space at St Louis today. I am becoming expert at squeezing a hire car into a space designed for a motorcycle, so far without scratches. We enjoyed wonderful cappucino coffee and freshly baked sesame bread sandwiches for lunch before another half an hour at Pat's bedside. We left her reluctantly, though at times she seemed almost hostile.

It put me in mind of that ambiguous verse in Exodus 13:17, where the narrator explains that God did not lead the people of Israel by the short direct route "although that was near" but led them by way of the wilderness, the long, seemingly pointlessly difficult route. Apparently the word translated "although" can also be translated "because", indicating that God deliberately led His people into barren terrain and via an arduous journey because it suited His purposes. And we know that His ways are not our ways.

We are more than ever grateful for all those who are keeping Patricia in their prayers. Her journey is a difficult one, and longer than we had thought.
With our love, Howard and Jodi

Thurs 17 Nov: This afternoon Patricia was more 'awake' - her eyes were open much of the time, looking with such longing and love. She seems to be more waiting than dying (that is just an impression, not a medical assessment). Although the St Louis hospital staff are in constant attendance, adding a syringe of this or that to one of her various tubes, we have not learned any more about a medical prognosis or diagnosis. We had the feeling Pat would have liked us to stay longer than we did. But we are conscious that too long will exhaust her.

Parking is a bit of a nightmare. The small hospital back yard where we parked twice before was totally jammed today, so I dropped Jodi there and went looking for a space somewhere. All the roadside parking was full, so I went into a subterranean multi-storey park where most of the signs were in Hebrew, and got soundly hooted for driving round the ranks of filled bays the wrong way. I drove around for 20 minutes before I finally found a space. Somehow I found my way out of the underground maze into daylight in a sort of grand courtyard, with not a familiar landmark in sight. Not sure which way to go, I just headed in a random direction until I was back on a street from where I could see the Old City and get my bearings again. It was just as difficult finding the car several hours later. But the Lord was good, and car and driver were eventually reunited, and I could feel my way back to the Hospital where Jodi was waiting. This experience cost us 39 shekels. So it's definitely London prices for parking! We're praying for a Hospital parking space tomorrow.

We talked to Sr Johanna this morning about the various letters/parcels we know are waiting in Pat's Post Office box. She went to Pat's hermitage this morning to look for the key while we were in Jerusalem. She had looked before without success. When we returned, Sr Grace told us that the key had been located. So hopefully the many items waiting there can be collected tomorrow.

love from us both, Howard & Jodi

Wed 16 Nov: I am sitting in the dining room at Kyriat Yearim, the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph. We have been here two days now and have been to see Patricia both days. Yesterday, she didn't seem to respond very much although her eyes were open when we went in the morning and we sang and prayed with her some. In the afternoon, she was asleep and didn't respond at all while we were there. She is on oxygen and gasping for breath most of the time. Also several drips and tubes and things. She lies motionless but her eyelids sometimes open and her big eyes look around.

Today when we went to see her, she woke up soon after we arrived and it felt she was more aware and we had good eye to eye contact during our visit. It felt at certain points that she wanted to say something, but was not able. The sisters here at Notre Dame are so lovely and very kind, wanting to help us in whatever way they can. One day while we are here Sr. Johanna wants to take us to Pat's little hermitage and show us what remains of her things. I thought I would email you, Pat, when we do that. [Jodi]

St Louis Hospital (we would call it a hospice) is an enormous stone built edifice just outside the Old City, by the New Gate. Patricia is on the second floor in a side ward with two other patients, one of whom is rather noisy, making dreadful gurgling, choking sounds a lot of the time. The facilities remind me of older Victorian hospitals that have not been upgraded for several decades. However, the quality of care is first rate. Other sisters from St Joseph's also visit Patricia almost daily. They are expecting one of their number, sister Emmi, to be moved to St Louis in the next day or two. She is only 51, but has terminal stomach cancer. So they are much in prayer for both of these dear ones.

Sister Johanna has just discovered Fisherfolk music, and finds it very nurturing at this time. She has only had old cassette tapes of Patricia's which are now stretched and horrible. Jodi has brought one of her CDs, and we have also left the CD from Betty's book at Patricia's bedside for her to listen to. One way to thank the sisters could be to send them a bundle of Fisherfolk CDs to Sister Johanna.

You would smile to hear Jodi and me croaking out so many of the songs that are familiar to us all during our times with her, along with prayers, psalms and other scriptures. Yesterday we also read her a chapter from Betty's book. It is hard to know how much she can take in. And we do not want to exhaust her. So our visits are short, twice a day, with a break for lunch in between. Today the parking space was so crowded we did not stay very long, since we had to block another car's exit to park at all, and Jodi cannot manage to walk from a distant car park. We'll try going in earlier tomorrow, and hope to find a longer-term parking spot. It has been 'fun' learning our way about Jerusalem and Abou Gosh in a foreign car, driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. But, thankfully, we have made it OK so far. [Howard]

We will continue to give you updates as our days unfold and hope to send some photos of the convent as well as the hospice and some of the sisters here. They are such a warm and generous group of people. I hope this has helped to fill you in on how Patricia is at the moment. I don't think she will recover and will pass on soon, but she is more vitally alive than I expected her to be all the same. Her love was shining out at us from those lovely eyes today and she seemed full of life even in her gasping and discomfort. So watch this space. [Jodi]

Love to you all, Jodi and Howard 2011. Click site map to navigate
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