Superman Sam has relapsed. As his mom wrote: “His ninja leukemia is so very strong.” They’re nearing the end. At various times during the Sommer’s journey, various people, not knowing what to do but wanting to help, have asked me to write something for Sam or his family. It happened again today, after the crushing news. I’ve been reading the posts by Rabbis Phyllis and Michael Sommer about their family and their son, wondering at the depth of their pain and courage, yet hesitant to offer something that they may or may not find appropriate. Again this morning, I received an email from a friend asking me for a prayer. I wrote this today for Sam’s parents and decided to post it after an email exchange with a friend of the family. For those who wish to pray for Sam, his Hebrew name is Shmuel Asher Uzziel ben haRav Michael Aharon v’haRav Pesah Esther.
On the Journey to My Child’s Passing
Soul of the Universe,
When we dreamed of becoming parents
We never expected to face the death of our son,
Still a child,
Or to prepare him and our family for the end,
Or to face the day to come when we bury him.
You know no bottom,
You spare no heart,
You leave us breathless and cold.
And yet, G-d of Ages, You offer
To walk with our son,
In courage and fear,
In strength and heartbreak,
Toward a destination we cannot enter.
G-d of All Being,
The well of cures has run dry.
The horizon of life nears.
There is a single destination.
Bless our family with wisdom and strength,
Kindness and care,
Just as we ask You, Holy One,
To cover us with Your tabernacle of peace.
Author of Life,
Grant our son Sam
Joy and wonder in the days that remain.
And give him an easy passing.
Grant us the wisdom and ability
To be examples of steadfast love,
An inheritance for the generations.
Rock of Old, You are my comfort and my strength.
צור עולמים, אתה נחמתי וכחי
Tzur olamim, atah nechamati v’chochi.
© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: I cried writing this. A lot. In the coming weeks I’ll post a generalized version of this prayer for use by those who, sadly, find themselves with a similar need. In writing it, I’ve borrowed from two other prayers: “Meditation on the Burial of a Young Child,” which I wrote after the shootings in Sandy Hook, and “On Removing a Child’s Life Support,” which I wrote at the request of a hospital chaplain. Both prayers will appear in my forthcoming book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.
Photo Source: Bunny Tales, A Shabby Rabbit Book Blog