Birthday, No More

800px-Buchach_Jewish_Graveyard_(40)Here’s a prayer to be said on the birthday of a deceased loved one. My sense of sorrow and loss return on the birth dates of my dad Jack z”l and my wife Ami z”l. Word choices are separated with a slash (“/”). Optional lines appear in [brackets]. This appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press. I also use this prayer on Father’s Day and, thinking of my children, on Mother’s Day.

Birthday, No More
This empty space in time,
In my heart,
Is yours dear ___________ [relationship].
It is the space for yearning,
The space of memory,
The day your light came into the world.
A day of sorrow for what was lost,
Birthdays that will never be.

This day touches
The depths of my grief and loss.
This day touches
A wound and makes it new.

G-d of generations,
Be with me [and my/our family]
As we remember what was
And what might have been.

I/We miss you.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: I’m posting this in memory of my father, born August 20, 1925. On that same date, 63 years later, he received his cancer diagnosis and died 10 days later, August 30, 1988, corresponding to 17 Elul 5748.  Some of my other prayers about death include: “Near the End: A Meditation,” “On Removing a Child’s Life Support,” “Meditation on the Burial of a Young Child,” “On the Journey to My Child’s Passing,” “After Shiva” and “Shall I Cry.” Here’s a list of memorial and yizkor prayers.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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