Tuesday, May 20, 2014

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Meryl Ain, co-author of 'The Living Memories Project'

Meryl Ain holds a BA from QueensCollege, a MA from ColumbiaUniversityTeachers College, and an Ed.D. from HofstraUniversity. She began her career in education as a social studies teacher before she became an administrator. She is also a freelance writer specializing in issues related to education, families, parenting, and children and has contributed to Huffington Post, Newsday, the New York Jewish Week and The New York Times. She embarked on The Living Memories Project after she lost both her father and mother within a year-and-a-half. She and her husband Stewart live on Long Island and have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

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Welcome to the book club, Meryl! Whose idea was it to put together your book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, and why did you three write this?

Meryl: When my mother died after a brief illness in 2006, I looked for a book that would help me go beyond mourning to a lead a happy life. I couldn't find what I was looking for, so I started talking with friends and colleagues about their experiences with loss. I found that many people keep the memories of their loved ones alive by various projects and tributes -- big and small. I said to my husband, Stewart, and my brother, Arthur that I thought there was a book in this, and I asked them to join me in this endeavor. Together we captured the stories of 32 individuals who created tributes – big and small – as living memorials. The project proved to be therapeutic and cathartic; not only did it give us wonderful material, but it turned into an inspiring book and an amazing tribute to my mom.

What kind of praise have you had so far for the book? 

Meryl: We are very gratified with the praise we have received so far from reviewers, readers, and clergy. Our reviews on Amazon have called the book, "inspirational," "innovative," and "heartwarming," and individuals have said that it provided comfort to them at the same time that it gave suggestions about ways to channel grief into positive action. One review said in part, "It provides hope and solace, as well as food for thought. It encourages people to dwell not on how a person died, but how he/she lived. This is an appropriate sympathy gift for someone who has lost a loved one." Rev. James Martin, SJ, author and TV commentator said: "...This moving book not only is a tribute to some extraordinary individuals who have gone before us, but also serves as a guide for all of us who wish to remember those who have touched our lives with their love."

Your book features more than 30 celebrities.  Can you name a few?

  • TV personality Nick Clooney, the father of actor George Clooney and the brother of Rosemary Clooney and Betty Clooney
  • Actor/author Malachy McCourt, the brother of Frank McCourt, the author of Angela's Ashes
  • Singer/songwriter Jen Chapin, the daughter of folk rock icon Harry Chapin
  • The late Jack Klugman, friend of Odd Couple acting partner Tony Randall
  • Lynda Bird Robb, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson
  • Linda Ruth Tosetti, the granddaughter of Yankee slugger Babe Ruth

Are you taking more stories for subsequent volumes?

Meryl: Yes, we are. We are asking people to share their own stories of how they keep alive the memories of their loved ones. There is a link on our website to submit your own story: http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/ 
What would you like to say to those who have lost loved ones?

Meryl: Those we love are with us forever. It is my hope that those who have experienced loss can find comfort and meaning through honoring the memory, values, passions, and the never-ending influence of their loved ones. And that their memory may always be a source of inspiration and a blessing for them and their families.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing the story behind this wonderful book Meryl! As you know, I am grieving the loss of my mother right now, and this book is not only helping me through the process, but helping me to bring closure to some previous losses as I now have a source to help me move past grieving and into the life-bringing arena of remembrance and joy.

    I am committed to sharing this wonderful resource with as many people in my world as I can. I invite other book club members to stop by my review and see what other readers are saying at: