Bedside Prayer for an Aging Parent

The following prayer was written nearly six years ago when my mother was hospitalized. She was eventually discharged, but then died later that year.

I share it today because I know so many people are now caring for their own elderly family members. I want to encourage those of you who are in that position to use those quiet bedside moments to talk to God. Offer your thoughts, your observations, your concerns and your memories to Him — maybe in gratitude or maybe as a way of reconciling. The single most important thing that got me through those days was prayer.


O Great Physician —

You love the hoary head,
including my mother’s silver waves,
now matted from too much time on the pillow.

As I sit beside my mother’s bed
and study her lined face,
I watch each breath pass through her lips
with an effort she did not used to exert.
Occasionally, her weary eyes open,
but, Lord,
she doesn’t even know me!

Heavenly Father, cradle her.
She worked hard in this life,
raising five children,
supporting her husband,
preparing meal after meal
for family, friends, and strangers,
using her nursing skills
to give hope to others,
using her tragedies
to encourage those
who encounter the same.

Let her know the rest
that only You can give.

While I sit here
don’t mind me.
I’ll just hold her hand
and weep a little.
I’m content to wipe her face,
give her sips of water,
and wait.

Amen.

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