Project Forgiveness 2009

Welcome to Project Forgiveness. Here, we collect and post videos, emails, postcards and other expressions of regret from those who seek to forgive and from those who wish to express regret.

In the days leading up to the Jewish New Year, we offer this forum as a first step. It is our hope that sharing thoughts of forgiveness online will translate into actual forgiveness between individuals in the days to come.

How to participate? It's simple. Send us your "sorry" (upload a video to youtube and send us the link) or email us at: forgiveness or mail to:

Project Forgiveness
P.O. Box 5134
Bergenfield, NJ 07621

We accept postcards, emails, powerpoint, art, music, video and more!

October 1, 2008

Mom -

I am sorry I didn’t mourn your death the way it deserved to be. I don’t understand my lack of grief. Maybe it was seeing you disappear before my very eyes for so many years. Maybe it’s because at least if you are not in a better place, then you are devoid of pain. I tired my hardest to connect with you when there was nothing left to connect with-just a body, with no capacity to communicate and hopefully a soul or spirit I tried to find that spirit each time I visited you. Sometimes I could, and sometimes I couldn’t. I thought it was my fault when I couldn’t.

Why don’t I cry more than I have? I pray I haven’t lost the capacity to love. I do try to take care of Dad but I am so far away, and not always well. I say Kaddish nearly every day because it means something to Dad, but I am left empty. I don’t know how you managed that trick with the mourner’s ribbon, but it sure got my attention. Do not think I don’t miss you. I do. It’s just that I have been missing you for so long.
Does this mean you weren’t a good enough person last year? Should I still believe in the Book of Life?

I didn’t go to services today. I’m not sure if it was just because I felt lousy. Maybe it’s because I no longer understand anything. Please forgive me for all my doubts. I know you would want me to remain strong in my beliefs but I am having a hard time. I have 10 days to turn back to God. Please help me.


Project Forgiveness (Submissions received via email and PO box are posted daily) said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful letter with Project Forgiveness and the National Jewish Outreach Program. Your mom must have been a very special person for you to feel the way you do. The beauty and pain you expressed led me to want to respond to you.

First, I must state that I am certain that you did your best for your mother, and I am equally certain that she is in a better place now than before she passed away especially after a long illness.

As you know, we are in a most auspicious time, the 10 days from Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur. The sages teach us that at this time of year, G-d is reaching out to us and waiting for us to reach out to Him. But we are still humans and doubts are the natural state of humankind, especially as we grow older and see things in life that we don�t understand. G-d understands this aspect of human nature all too well, and has, therefore, given us the great gift of Teshuva, literally returning. It is understood that when we turn toward G-d, He helps us come closer, and He understands our pain.

Your letter was filled with the beautiful desire to find your way through the pain of loss and the confusion of feeling alone. In your very desire to find your way back to the way you used to feel about G-d, love prayer, etc, you are taking the first steps...and it is those steps that G-d looks for during this time.

Wishing you both comfort and success.

Sir Thomas said...

I am not sure how difficult it was for you to write that letter, but it touched my heart. You had great courage to open up like that, and you show a great love of your mom.

My wife and I have also gone through a long term illness with a parent, and finally lost her dad. he could not speak for eight out of ten years with us. He could not attend our wedding, we came to the house directly afterword to perform a mini-service for him.

Doubt is so much a part of being human, please don't let that make you feel bad or unworthy. It is in these times that G_d uses to reach out to us to say, "I know this is hard. Let me help, let me hold you." Sometimes the hardest part is allowing yourself to let go and let G_d. It's ok. You could not be in better hands.

I will prayer for you, and HaShem will know who you are. Please be well. I know this is too late for Yom Kippur, but it is always the day to turn to G_d.