Based on the Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord make me an instrument of your peace.
Give me the grace to have what I already have and to make it grow;
help me to reap a personal sense of calm and restfulness in the
midst of my loved one's devastating disease
and to extend that peace in his/her daily care.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Help me to sow love in the midst of this hated disease.
Teach me how to render loving and patient care to my loved one.
Show me the way to be Your instrument of grace
and help me come to a resolution of acceptance and consideration.
Where there is discord, union.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Help me to seek healing of a hardened heart,
oftentimes full of anger and resentment,
and to reconcile myself to the reality of my loved one's disease;
to see the "injury" of Alzheimer's as a means for me and my affected loved one
to grow in greater love and intimacy with you, Lord,
and to pardon that which is unknown for causing this devastating disease.
Where there is doubt, faith.
I know doubt is a necessary part of life.
Help me in situations when I doubt myself in the care of my loved one;
when I question my responsibilities of being a caregiver;
when I sit in doubt at times thinking You have abandoned me, Lord;
and most of all, when I lose that faith and hope
that I know are what ultimately sustain me and my loved one
throughout the journey of this disease,
Where there is despair, hope.
I know that everyone dealing with this disease has despair,
but help me to be an instrument to others
so I can offer hope to them, too.
In my despair, give me the grace to reach out to others for solace and support,
so that we all can know the hope that is always restored
through your love and grace, Lord.
Where there is darkness, light.
I know Jesus is the Light of the World.
Help me always to remember and to receive that Light of Christ.
I am a reflection of that Light;
my loved one with Alzheimer's is a reflection of that Light, too.
Help us, together, to be that Light for ourselves and others.
And where there is sadness, joy.
I am losing my loved one to this devastating disease.
It makes both of us sad.
Help me to recognize the joy in the present moment with my loved one each day;
to experience that joy together, to overcome our sadness that sometimes prevails,
and to know that God is ever with us on our journey.
O Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
Help me not to be so needy.
Use me as an instrument to others for consolation,
even in my own journey and grief.
Help me find the grace to care and comfort others
who are also affected by this disease,
thereby giving my loved one and me comfort, too.
To be understood, as to understand;
Help me not to be fixated on always trying to understand my loved one
and always wanting for him/her to understand me;
what he/she is trying to communicate;
all the "whys" and" hows" of this disease;
but to just understand and listen most of all;
and to recognize that the progression of the disease
is destroying my loved one's brain, not the person behind the disease.
To be loved, as to love.
I miss my loved one's love; I miss the touch and companionship;
the days of sharing and caring for each other.
Help me to keep our love alive;
to aspire to love him/her as much as I can through this journey,
knowing that when I am caring for another human being, we both grow in love,
and that when we both grow in that love, it will be given whole-heartedly to others.
For it is in giving that we receive.
Help me not to tire of all the "care" giving
and to be charitable in that giving.
Help me be a more generous receiver;
to receive the abundant gifts of others,
to accept help and welcome help
throughout this disease journey.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
Help me to forgive myself for all the times when I am angry, or weary, or lonely,
or upset, or impatient, or frustrated. …
Help me to know that my loved one forgives me, too;
for my negative actions and emotions oftentimes become elevated because
the madness of the disease overwhelms me.
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Give me the strength and perseverance when grief overcomes me
to withstand the loss of my loved one twice;
to endure patiently when he/she no longer recognizes me,
when I am seen as a stranger or foe,
when I must realize the slow passing away of a person I once knew and still love;
and finally, give me the grace and fortitude for that final goodbye
so that I might have peace and promise in my loved one's physical death
when my loved one is joined with Christ in a new, eternal life.
By Dana Territo, Director of Services, Alzheimer's Services of the Capital Area, Baton Rouge, Louisiana