Grieving the Living

661px-SadnessThis prayer is for those grieving the emotional or spiritual loss of someone still living: a parent whose child no longer wants a relationship, or a teen whose parents have been lost in alcoholism for years. The idea was sparked when I heard a young woman in a support group say: “You people who’ve lost loved ones, you’re lucky. Some of us have lost our parents, but they’re still living. At least you can grieve and get on with it. We just go on suffering the loss with the ridiculous hope that one day things will get better.” Optional lines appear [in brackets]. This prayer will appear in my forthcoming book, Prayers from the Heart of Darkness.

Grieving the Living
G-d of Old,
Grief holds me,
Sadness deep in my bones,
A yearning to fill the hole
In my broken heart.
[My parents, who do not love.]
[My child, who cut me off.]
[My friend, who disappeared.]
[My brother, a river of anger.],
[My sister, a well of judgment.]
[My ______, who _________.]

This longing for what has never been,
For what [may/can] never be,
Consumes me.
How can I move beyond this sorrow
When I still can hope?
How can I move beyond this pain
When I can still dream?
[I wonder,
Wouldn’t my life be better
If he/she/they were dead, G-d forbid?
I could grieve and move on.
Then my guilt and shame set in.]

G-d of Wisdom,
Teach me to let go
Of false hopes and empty promises
So I can trust again, love again, hope again.
Teach me to accept my past as it was
So I can embrace a richer tomorrow.
Teach me to release my anger and pain
So that I may lead a life of awe and wonder,
Full of joy and laughter.

Blessed are You, Creator of life,
You heal the broken spirit with love.

© 2014 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a list of memorial and yizkor prayers, many of which appear in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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