How painful is it to know that you’ll slowly lose your memories, you personality, your understanding of who you are in this world? And how painful is it to know the impact that deterioration will have on your spouse or partner? There is an element of what appears to be cruelty in this disease. This prayer is one antidote for that cruelty. It’s a prayer of love and gentleness to be said together, the one with the diagnosis and his or her beloved. This prayer is one of several prayers addressing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases that will appear in my forthcoming book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.
To a Spouse/Partner on Diagnosis with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease
Dear _________________ [Name],
The doctors say that I will be leaving,
[First losing control of my body and then]
Retreating into my mind,
Visiting with you less and less.
It is not my choice to say goodbye.
It is our path.
G-d of compassion,
Watch over my [husband/wife/spouse/partner]
In the months and years ahead.
Give her/him the strength to live
To love and to mourn
As we lose each other to this disease.
Grant her/him courage and peace of mind
As we face difficult decisions and difficult moments together
And, in time, she/he faces them without me.
It is not my choice to leave.
It is not my choice to depart.
It is not my choice to disappear.
Forgive me when my disease
Speaks words of anger or pain.
Remember my devotion to you.
Remember our love and our lives for both of us,
Our joys, our hopes, our dreams.
G-d of compassion,
Bless my [husband/wife/spouse/partner]
In her/his hours of loss and grief.
And grant her/him a life of wonder and awe
In the years ahead.
© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: I wonder if this prayer can be used by the spouse or partner during the late stages of these diseases? In other words, would I be able to say this prayer and hear it in the voice of my loved one? Here are healing prayers for “R’fuat HaNefesh” and “For Healing the Spirit.” Here’s a link to prayers for Healing.
Photo Source: Fire Fighters with Parkinson’s Disease