Alzheimer's and dementia attacks the foundational values of who we are as Jews and Jewish families. We Jews consider ourselves the people of yikzor (remembrance): as long as we remember where we came from, we will have a sense of who we are and where we are going. So what happens when we can no longer remember any of that?
Alden Solovy, a gifted liturgist, wrote a new prayer to be said upon receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. As with all his prayers, it is heartfelt and beautifully written. His work is available on his To Bend Light, an overwhelming collection of poems for today.
I share this prayer with you here, in memory of my grandma Esther Kipnes who died many years ago from this horrible disease. I shared her story in Broken Fragments: Jewish Experiences of Alzheimer’s Disease through Diagnosis, Adaptation, and Moving On (Doug Kohn, editor, URJ Press).
Diagnosis with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
I am told,
In stages I will lose my words,
My ability to care for myself,
My connection with my family,
My connection with myself.
G-d of compassion,
Stand with me in the days ahead.
I am [frightened/angry/sad /confused/defiant][add a description of your emotions].
Grant me time to remain
Mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally present
For my family,
For my friends,
And for myself.
Grant healing power to my treatments
To keep this disease at bay.
Give my physicians knowledge and insight
And my caregivers skill and perseverance.
Grant scientists and researchers tools and understanding
To develop new treatments,
Speedily, in our day.
I need Your care,
And your loving hand.
G-d of old,
You are my Rock and Redeemer.
© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Please consider purchasing Alden’s new book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.