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Death of a sibling

Lord God, you gifted our family with the life of my……….. (name your brother or sister). Our lives were changed by his/her death. Your heart goes out to each of us in our grief.
You are near, you are here. You see sadness as we mourn, as we consider the empty place. Please fill the emptiness in our hearts with your presence and your touch. We shall remember our deceased loved one. Amen.

For one whose spouse has died
Lord, you promise us that if we come to you when we are burdened you will refresh us; I come to you with my burden of grief, loneliness and emptiness since the death of my husband/ wife……May the memory of our life together bring solace, healing and peace in my day-to day living. Comfort me and may I be blessed as I share memories with those who love and understand me. Amen

For a parent whose older child has died
Lord, you compare yourself to a mother who can never forget the child of her womb. I can never forget my child who has graced and blessed my life and who has left me with many memories of joy and struggle. Lord, I am bereft, I ask you now to soften the ache in my heart. Ease the pain of many unfulfilled hopes and dreams. I treasure memories of love and hope. May I know that one day the pain in my heart will be turned to peace, as I know your comfort and that your power is at work in me, as I work through my grief. Amen.

For a baby who died a long time ago
Lord, thank you for the life of my baby who died a long time ago. Help me to recognise that you were present in my silent tears and unacknowledged feelings. You saw how my dreams and hopes for this baby were shattered.You brought me through this difficult time.Now I wish to honour my baby (name your baby or you may wish to give your baby a name here). I believe that we shall be reunited to praise you forever in heaven. Amen.

For those bereaved by suicide
O God, my spirit, my world, my being has been shattered by the tragic death of our family member. I seem to have no peace, no consolation. There are no words to bring me solace. Yet, even for a short time when I can focus not on the manner of the death but on his/her love, on who he/she was, I am given a shred of comfort. Come to me now, Lord, in my distress. May some good memories help to dispel a little of the darkness of my life. May I know the comfort of your healing love and acceptance.

Sudden death
Lord, this sudden death has left me confused, scared, bereft. Like you on the Cross I cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yet, deep down, I know you are close. You are ever present in time of trouble; you are now with me in my grief and heartbreak. Give me courage and self compassion in this unexpected sorrow. Let me receive healing of mind and body. Amen.
Sr. Sheila McAuliffe

When a relationship has ended
Lord, a precious relationship has ended for me. I am feeling the loss of companionship and of much that we shared together. The emptiness in my life is difficult to bear. Many memories return to comfort me, but also to wound me in areas where I felt loved and cherished. I too gave of my heart and of myself. Be close to me in my pain and grief. Comfort me. Instil hope and comfort where I feel weak and vulnerable. Let me experience the strength and tenderness of your love for me, as others befriend, inspire and shelter me. Amen.

Prayer when a pet has died
Lord, you love nature, inviting us to gaze at the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. You have enriched our lives with pets, giving us joy and contentment. God, you see the sadness in my heart since my pet has died. You know the hollow in my heart. I miss the companionship and playfulness of my pet. Come into my life, heal me and bless me. Amen.

When one's father has died
Lord as I remember my father who has died, I thank God for the wonder of his being, that he was created in your image and likeness. Now as I mourn for him, I pray that I may recall how he loved and cherished me throughout my life. Comfort my lonely heart as I grieve for him. I believe that the bond
of love between parent and child endures forever. Amen.

When one's mother has died
Lord as I remember my mother who has died, I thank God for the wonder of her being, that she was created in your image and likeness. Now as I mourn for her, I pray that I may recall how she loved and cherished me throughout my life. Comfort my lonely heart as I grieve for her. I believe that the bond of love between parent and child endures forever. Amen.

The above prayers were composed by Sr. Sheila McAuliffe R.S.C.

Response for a Burial
Into the darkness and warmth of the earth
we lay you down
Into the sadness and smiles of our memories
we lay you down
Into the circle of living and dying and rising again
we lay you down

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
we let you go
into the dance of the stars and the planets
we let you go
into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star maker
we let you go

We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy.
Go safely, go dancing, go running home.
May you rest in peace, in fulfilment, in love
May you run straight home to God’s embrace.

Death: Harvest Time of the Spirit
On an autumn day I took up a handful of wheat grain and let it slip slowly through my fingers.
As I reflected I said to myself...
At harvest time the essence is revealed, there is no longer any room for pretence.... the straw and the chaff are set aside..........they have done their job.... the grain alone matters..... the pure gold.

So it is when a person dies....... the essence is that person is revealed..... the character stands out, comes into sharp focus. Then it is not the great achievements that matter, the possessions amassed. NO. These like the chaff and the straw are left behind. It is what one has become that matters. A glimpse of the Divine, like the golden grain, shines through in one who has lived faithfully and generously over the years.

Death can take away what we have but it cannot rob us of who we are..... children of a loving Father called home to live a fuller life in His presence forever.