Editor’s Note: This prayer was originally published on Alden Solovy’s blog, To Bend Light. It is republished here with Alden’s permission.
A difficult prayer for a difficult moment. In classic Jewish tradition, this prayer includes a request for forgiveness from the one who is near death by those who made the decision to remove life support. It is brief, by design, so as not to prolong the moment for anyone.
Removing Life Support
G-d of compassion,
With hope defeated,
I/We say a last goodbye
To my/our _______________ (relationship)
Whom we cherished in life,
And whom we will mourn in death.
Grant him/her/them a perfect rest
Under Your canopy of peace
As medical professionals
Will soon remove life support.
O grievous moment,
O grievous hour,
Beloved _____________ (name or relationship)
Forgive me/us any wrongs
I/we may have done to you in this life,
And forgive me/us this last act of compassion,
Allowing your life and your suffering to end.
G-d of mercy,
May You grant hope in our days
And peace in our years.
As we mourn,
Accept this soul
© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight
Alden Solovy spreads joy and excitement for prayer. A liturgist and poet, his work has been used by people of all faiths throughout the world. He’s written more than 700 pieces of new liturgy, offering a fresh new Jewish voice, challenging the boundaries between poetry, meditation, personal growth and prayer. He’s a teacher, a writing coach and an award-winning essayist and journalist. He’s an ELI talk fellow, speaking on “Falling in Love with Prayer.”
Alden’s writing was transformed by multiple tragedies, marked in 2009 by the sudden death of his wife from catastrophic brain injury. As a result, he deepened his exploration of meditation, poetry, liturgy and personal prayer as a healing, spiritual practice. His third book, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day, was released in 2017 by CCAR Press. His next book, This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings, is anticipated this winter, also from CCAR Press.
Alden’s work has been widely anthologized, including Men Pray (Skylight Paths Publishing) and Choosing a Jewish Life (Anita Diamant, Schocken), as well as these CCAR Press books: Gates of Shabbat; Mishkah R’Fuah: Where Healing Resides; L’col Z’man Eit: For Sacred Moments, a Rabbi’s Manual; and Mishkan Hanefesh, a new machzor. Alden is a three-time winner of Chicago journalism’s top prize for essay writing. He was the National Havurah Committee’s 2015 Summer Institute Liturgist-In-Residence. Here are his publishing credits.
Alden is available to teach, read his work or serve as liturgist-in-residence. His teaching spans from U.S. synagogues to Limmud Conference UK to HUC-JIR, Jerusalem. Here’s his speaking schedule, as well as testimonials from rabbis and educators.
Alden holds a B.A. in English composition with a minor in literature from Beloit College, an M.A. in journalism from the University of Illinois-Springfield and an M.B.A. in economics and finance from the University of Chicago. He previously served as executive editor and associate publisher for the Journals of the American Hospital Association.