Gage Alexander Dole

Obituary for Gage Alexander Dole

July 13, 2001 - February 14, 2011
Lake Oswego, Oregon | Age 9

Life Stories

    Life Stories is a repository of favorite stories and memories about Gage Alexander Dole.
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  • The Brave Little Soul
    By: John Alessi

    Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?" God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused. "What do you mean," he asked. God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone." The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love - to create this miracle for the good of all humanity."

    Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied. "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!" God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you". God and the brave soul shared a smile, and then embraced.

    In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed." Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys, some regained lost faith - many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.

  • Part of Gage's East Coast Eulogy
    by Melanie Marsden

    Ask anyone who knows me – I am someone who is rarely at a loss for words – but when Trux and Lauren asked me to speak about Gage, I wasn’t sure I would be able to find the right ones.

    Gage Dole was larger than life, and far bigger than words.

    An old soul..he was wise - well beyond his years. He came here to teach us and I learned so much from him...

    I wasn’t and I’m still not sure I can do my amazing friend justice with simple words…In the end, all I can do is try my best to tell you about Gage as we knew him. How we met him, and how he touched my life…….forever.

    Just in case any of you don’t know what craigslist is, it’s an online classified that has made traditional newspaper classifieds virtually obsolete. Craigslist is popular for a lot of things…Some people find used furniture, electronics, or jobs on Craigslist. Other’s find a roommate, a relationship or even a used car…

    My family – The Marsdens– we found Gage.

    Well sort of. It was Trux actually. While scanning the barter section I noticed his post looking for temporary housing in Boston – of course I wanted to help.

    Strangely enough, my dad Zeke died of Cancer 20 years ago this weekend. I was 17 at the time, and while it was terribly hard on my family, I can’t even begin to imagine how much harder that time in our life would have been if we had to pack up and move clear across the country to get my dad the treatment he needed. Dealing with cancer is hard enough, but having to do it away in a strange place seemed more of a burden than I could fathom.

    While that was a very dark time in our lives – it was also one of the most beautiful. The whole community came out and supported us in any way they could. I didn’t want to imagine how my family would have gotten through such a tough time in our lives without the support of our family, friends, and neighbors. For years I’d wondered how I was going to even begin to repay all of the people who had reached out to my family when my father was sick. And on that day when I saw Trux’s Craigslist posting - I felt like this was meant to be. It was our turn to pay it forward.

    If Lauren, Trux and Gage had to leave their home behind to get the treatment that Gage needed, the least we could do was help them with a place to stay and hopefully make them feel a little more comfortable in this very difficult time.

    And just like that, within a few short weeks - strangers from opposite ends of the country became housemates, and not long after that, family.

    Gage was just 4 when he and his parents came to live with us in Charlestown. My brother Michael, my mom Peachie, Lauren, Trux, Gage and myself all lived together under one roof for 3 months while Gage received Proton Radiation Treatment at Mass General. While it was a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, those three months had a profound affect on me.

    Growing up – no matter where our days took us as kids out exploring – 5:00 o’clock meant time to head back home for Supper. And Supper time in the Marsden house was called “Quality Time.” Quality time meant no phones, no television, no video games – just a family around the table – sharing a meal, taking turns talking about our day. But when my father died – the pain was so great and the grief so heavy that sitting around that table didn’t bring the comfort or joy it once had in our lives. It was a constant almost unbearable reminder that someone was missing; the glue that held our family together was gone.

    I hadn’t taken much time to think about how tough having a child with cancer coming into our house might be. No, in retrospect I hadn’t given it much thought at all. There are so many problems in the world that we can’t fix – but here was one – staring me in the face that we could help with. The Doles needed a place to stay. We had a couple of spare rooms. Before they moved in my brother asked me “are they bringing this boy here to die?” I’m sure he was thinking that maybe we couldn’t handle that --After all we still hadn’t fully recovered from losing my dad.

    I told Michael that they were bringing him here to fight. And that we had no control over what the outcome would be but we could make sure that his memories of Boston were more than of Hospital stays and medical treatments. I honestly thought we could live in the same house with them and keep a healthy distance emotionally – boy was I wrong. When they arrived – you couldn’t help but fall in love with the whole family – especially Gage.

    While our intention all along had been to help Gage and his family –in the end, it was Gage that helped us. When you lose someone close - you’re afraid to feel that hurt again. You’re afraid to love and let people in. But you couldn’t keep Gage at a distance. It was impossible. He was so full of love that it spilled out of him and wrapped around you and you just had no choice. Like the story of the little brave soul who came into the world to unlock love – Gage brought love and joy and laughter back into our home. And I have no doubt that when Gage volunteered to be a brave little soul, my dad Zeke pulled him aside and said “hey Pal – while you’re down there - can you do me a favor and stop by 38 Mystic Street. They really need a dose of LOVE.”

    Here was this 4 year old boy with strength and courage that most people who live very long lives never possess. But Gage never so much as complained or let the battle he was facing – slow him down or weaken his spirit. Gage loved life. Here he was a sick child….

    BUT I’D NEVER MET ANYONE MORE ALIVE!!!

    He’d run around the house in his super hero pajamas. Cracking jokes, telling stories, and bringing joy wherever he went. In our time together he helped clarify what was truly important in life. He brought us back to a time when everything made sense. A time before the rug was pulled out from under us. A time before we lost my dad. He brought us back to the kitchen table as a family. He helped us to love again. And if he could face life without fear – we had no choice but to follow his lead.

    We were blessed to have him with us for Halloween and Christmas that year. He completely lit up our house. You should have seen Trux, Lauren, Peachie, Michael and Myself following batman all around town while he collected his loot. I’m not sure who had more fun – us or him..? And Christmas that year was better than any I’d remembered - We put on the Chipmunks Christmas Album, We decorated the tree together. Michael put Christmas bulbs up his nose and he and Gage got a kick out of it. That was the Christmas of the Blue Power Ranger Gun and a visit to meet Santa in the Berkshires.

    My father used to say, “We’re all going to die. And once we accept that – we really start to live.” And boy did Gage live.

    Knowing Gage and loving Gage has made me a better person. When his family lived with us they brought a joy back to our home that had been missing for years. People would hear about the story and say “how sad.” And we’d reply – spend 2 minutes with Gage and sad would be the furthest thing from your mind.

    During that time, I learned so much about Power Rangers and Pirates and Pretty Girls. He could spot a pretty girl from a mile away. And you could tell the ones he really liked because those are the ones he’d show his scar too. Or whatever temporary tattoo he happened to be sporting that week. One of my favorite memories of Gage was when we went to visit him before the Bone Marrow Treatment. The last thing he said to Michael as we were leaving was – “Hey Michael, don’t ever let them make you wash those off,” referring to Michael’s very real tattoos - which Gage must have assumed were the wash off type. He probably was trying to figure out how Michael managed to avoid soap and water all those years.

    Some of my families favorite memories of Gage were:

    Peachie reading stories to Gage.

    Gage belly laughing while we watched Mahna Mahna over and over again.

    Watching Veggie Tales and singing silly songs.

    Gage’s love of Pizzeria Regina Pizza with Black Olives.

    Michael’s thumb magic trick-Which Gage would ask to see over and over again.

    At dinner time Trux would say, “Gage stop beating up Michael and eat your Food”.

    Gage telling Michael “No Toys at the Table.” When Michael was using his cell phone.

    The no playing until we eat rule and how Gage and Michael found a way around the no toys at the table rule by using neckties as headbands and playing Commando-Since technically, they argued, neck ties are not a toy – they are apparel and Trux and Lauren agreed wholeheartedly.

    Hearing “One two three four I declare a Thumb War.” Every time Gage and Michael Thumb Wrestled.

    Gage asking Michael if he could be his “pretend little brother”.

    The snowball fight in the hospital

    And on and on…

    Michael was 27. Gage 4. But neither of them acted their age…

    Gage, no doubt because of his condition, was blessed with this amazing Spirit which helped him, and in turn all of us, not only get through some tough times, but have a lot of fun along the way. Gage came here to teach us. He came to this world knowing the importance of family, friends, laughter and love. Of kindness and courage and strength. And he lives on in us.

    I’d like to close with a quote that hangs on our wall that was given to us by Gage’s family:

    If you’ve had a kindness done you – pass it on.
    It was not meant for you alone – pass it on.
    May it linger through the years - may it dry another’s tears
    Till in Heaven it appears - pass it on.

    May we all go forward with strength and courage as Gage did.
    Pass it on.