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A Prayer to Comfort Those Passing

Heal
Clasped hands

In these heartbreaking times, being together during life's passages is often impossible. Rabbi Rami shares a prayer to bring comfort to those who are passing.

Question: My mother is dying in a nursing home halfway across the country. I’ve been exposed to coronavirus, but have not been tested due to lack of available tests. I have no symptoms, and even if I test negative, I fear catching the disease just by flying to see her. And being allowed in to see her is iffy at best. We still talk on the phone, but I have no doubt she will die alone. 

This is breaking my heart, and while we have talked about it and my mom says she understands, I desperately need some way to connect with her, to be with her as she passes. I have no idea if you can help me, but if you can—anything, anything will be appreciated.

Rabbi Rami: I’m going to share with you something I have not shared before, something I have kept private to use with my loved ones at their bedside. But your email touched me deeply, and I feel compelled to share this now. 

If you can have a nurse or attendant place your mom’s phone by her ear so you can read this to your mom as she dies, do so. If not, just read this at home as soon as you hear of her imminent passing—or soon after her death. If you need to change the words so they speak more powerfully to you and your mom, do so. Just know that reading this to her as she dies or soon after she is dead is a way to be present with her that will allow you to grieve well and without regret. 


Listen Beloved and yield to the journey of dying:
Yield to the truth of what is happening.
Yield to the truth of what you are hearing.
Trust in my voice; rest in my voice; attend to my voice.
You may hear others; trust only mine.
Other voices are echoes of fear.
My voice is the original voice of love.

Listen Beloved and know:
Know who you are;
Know from whence you came;
Know to where you are going.
And yield.

Listen Beloved and know who you are:
You are not only your physical sensations.
You are not only your feelings.
You are not only your thoughts.
You are not only your visions.
You are also the One who senses.
You are also the One who feels.
You are also the One who thinks.
You are also the One who sees.
Yield to the One and not to your sensations, feelings, thoughts, and visions.

Listen Beloved and know from whence you came:
You are not from above.
You are not from below.
You are not from without.
You are not from within.
You are what is above.
You are what is below.
You are what is without.
You are what is within.
Yield to the One and know you are
the One beyond many Who holds the many and the one.

Listen Beloved and know where you are going:
You may feel you are going from part to Whole.
You may feel you are going from self to Self.
You may feel you are going from I to I AM.
But in fact, you are going nowhere:
The Whole is the part,
The Self is the self,
The I AM is the I.
Like a wave yielding to the ocean that waves it
you are only becoming what you already are.
There is nothing to do.
There is nothing to achieve.
There is nothing to earn.
There is only the gift of yielding to what Is.

Listen Beloved:
You are the Aliveness that is birthing and dying.
You are the Divine Happening happening as all happening.
You are the I Am of all happening and aliveness. 

Beloved, you have had many experiences in life:
Some matched your desires, others did not.
Some fulfilled your goals, others did not.
Some upheld your values, others did not.
These may arise in your mind
as memories, reflections, yearnings, and regrets.
Simply acknowledge their arriving and allow them to pass.
Do not cling to what arises, only acknowledge it;
say "Yes" to what was without excuse or explanation.

Beloved, as you die,
the faces of loved ones may come to you:
Welcome each face with “I love you.”
Do not cling, excuse, or explain.
Without clinging, excuse, and explanation—there is only love.

Beloved, as you die,
the faces of those you have hurt may come to you:
Welcome each face with “I am sorry.”
Do not cling, excuse, or explain.
Without clinging, excuse, and explanation—you are forgiven.

Beloved, as you die,
the faces of those who have hurt you may come to you:
Welcome each face with “I forgive you.”
Do not cling, excuse, or explain.
Without clinging, excuse, and explanation—you forgive.

Beloved, as you die,
you may begin to forget,
but you will not be forgotten:
You may begin to let go,
but you will not be abandoned.
You may begin to drift,
but you will never be set adrift.
You are loved.
I am here.
You are not alone.

As your senses fade,
sense the One’s embrace.
As your feelings fade,
feel yourself loved.
As your thoughts fade,
think of me surrounding you with love.

Soon you may find yourself without moorings:
You don’t sense anything of the past. 
You don’t feel anything of the past.
You don’t think anything of the past.
This is because you are entering the eternal Present.
But you can still hear my voice.
Attend to my voice.
Trust my voice.
Let my voice guide you.

You are yielding to the Light:
Allow the Light to draw you closer.
You may perceive the presence of others:
Some you know, some you don’t.
They are here to comfort you,
as I am here to comfort you.
Acknowledge them.
Feel their love and welcome their support,
but do not cling to them.
They are here to honor your dying,
but they have no place in your death.
Let them come, let them go.

The closer you get to the Light,
the lighter you will feel.
You were a being; now you are being itself.
You were a mind; now you are consciousness itself.
You were happy and sad; now you are only bliss. 

My voice is fading.
My love is not.
Let me release you with this prayer:

May you be free from fear.
May you be free from compulsion.
May you be blessed with love.
May you be blessed with peace.
You were loved.
You are loved.
You are love.


Read our special section on coronavirus for more on coping with the pandemic. 


Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. In the print version of our magazine, he has an advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addressing reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art. Rabbi Rami hosts our podcast, “Essential Conversations.”


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