Three months after Ami’s z”l death, my daughters and I received a thank you note from the man who received her heart. It was remarkably difficult to read, perhaps because her death was so recent and so sudden. Here’s what I wrote:
I hold an anonymous thank you note from a stranger, a man whose story is tied to mine, a man who once stood at the edge of death, whose family wondered and waited, the man who received Ami’s heart. Thank you for the gift of life, for this heart, he said, I will treat it well.
What is this thing inside us, that we can take it beating out of a dead woman and put it inside a dieing man, in the shadow of tragedy and loss, to heal, to sustain, to bless? Can it merely be flesh and blood, when it still yearns so powerfully for life?
Perhaps that heart that still beats, somewhere, inside someone, is a witness for us. No tragedy is so final, no loss so permanent, no fate so irrevocable, that a loving G-d cannot turn it into a blessing. Today I am counting blessings. You, my friends, among them.
This is my third prayer about the gift of life. “For Organ Donation” thanks G-d for the medical skill and asks for blessings on all who make transplantation possible. “In Memory of An Organ Donor” is a yizkor prayer for organ donors. This is a prayer for those, critically ill, suffering and perhaps near the end of life, who are waiting for transplants. The prayer is written to be said for oneself or for another, with options shown in [brackets]. There is also the option to add a name.
On Waiting for an Organ Transplant
Breath of Life,
In Your wisdom You have given medical science
The skill and ability to transplant organs,
Renewing life for the critically ill.
G-d of compassion and mercy,
Bless [me] [my father / mother / sister / brother / child / wife / husband / partner / dear one / friend]
With this gift of life.
Release [me / him / her] from fear and pain,
From moments of uncertainty and times of despair,
From powerful medications, debilitating treatments and temporary interventions.
Open the hearts of men and women
To share their health
By giving blood,
Registering as marrow donors
And dedicating themselves to organ donation.
Open, too, the hearts of families
Facing the death of a loved one,
So that, in the shadow of grief,
They find the strength to give the gift of life.
May they find meaning and comfort
In their time of suffering and loss.
G-d of healing,
[I ] [my father / mother / sister / brother / child / wife / husband / partner / dear one / friend]
Wait(s) in the shadow of disease,
In the shadow of pain and suffering,
In the shadow of mortality.
May this wait end soon,
With a healthy organ, a successful transplant,
And a speedy recovery.
© 2012 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: This prayer appears in my new book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing. My other prayers for healing include: “For Surgery,” “Upon Recovery from Surgery,” “For Healing the Spirit,” “For a Critically-Ill Mother,” “For a Critically-Ill Father,” “For a Critically Ill Child” and “R’fuat HaNefesh: Healing the Soul.”
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Photo Source: Doctors Health Press