This week I want to share this prayer that is often used in the Jewish tradition when someone dies. Judaism understand mourning as a discipline, one in which the mourner is not only allowed, but expected, to be engaged. Rather than asking the mourner to paper over his or her grief, the Jewish community supports him or her in mourning. The Jewish tradition of bereavement marks the days, and then the months, and then all the years after a death.
I found this prayer helpful. I hope it will be helpful to all who mourn. There is a lot to work through when someone dies. We like to think grief is a straight shot that lasts a matter of days or weeks. grief can last a life time. Perhaps this meditation will be healing.
MEDITATIONS BEFORE KADDISH
WHEN I DIE give what’s left of me away
to children and old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
cry for your brother walking the street beside you.
And when you need me, put your arms around anyone
and give them what you need to give me.
I want to leave you something,
something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved,
and if you cannot give me away,
at least let me live in your eyes and not in your mind.
You can love me best by letting hands touch hands,
and by letting go of children that need to be free.
Love doesn’t die, people do.
So, when all that’s left of me is love,
give me away.