Death of a Horrible Relative

imageWhen family members die, we strive to remember the best moments of their lives. We must also recognize the complexity of mourning when a person has suffered trauma at hand of a newly-departed relative. Although a response to death, this is a personal prayer of healing. It is intended for private use. Optional verses appear in [brackets]. Alternative word choices are separated with a slash (“/”).

Death of a Horrible Relative
Dad/Mom/_________ (other relative, name or relationship),
So many moments of pain,
So many chances for healing that you abandoned,
So much suffering that you caused,
And now, you are dead.
What is it that I/we mourn?
The dad/mom/_________ (other relative) we never had?
The loss of so much time and energy
To the misery you caused?
The hope that one day you would become
A person of integrity and valor,
Kindness and love?

As in life,
Your death brings mixed emotions,
Different for each of us in our family as we grapple to understand,
As we grapple to find comfort and peace.

G-d of Old,
[Where were You when our family needed healing?]
[Where were You in the pain the sorrow?]
Help me to let go of the false hopes and empty promises
That never came to be.
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.
Help me to move on.
[Help me to forgive. So that one day I can say:]
May his/her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
[At long last,]
A living blessing in our midst.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: See also “Grieving the Living.” Here’s a link to all of my Yizkor and memorial prayers.

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