Meryl Ain and her husband Stewart are close friends of ours. I can assure you that her books are infused with the same warmth and intelligence that she displays in every area of her life:
Dr. Meryl Ain’s new book “My Living Memories Project Journal” offers tools to help develop living legacies
For Jews the world over, the High Holiday season is a time for reflection on the past year and of remembrances of loved ones. Prayer, repentance, charity and festive meals make this an appropriate time to honor family traditions and legacies, and to recall those who are no longer here. A unique workbook created to help people capture the memories and passions of their loved ones – everything from their hobbies, favorite foods and vacation spots to their accomplishments, traditions and favorite charities – will be released September 26.
My Living Memories Project Journal by Dr. Meryl Ain provides a cathartic experience for those who have had a loss, as well as providing a record that will be cherished by generations to come. It is a companion journal to the award-winning 2014 book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last.
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Dr. Ain, who is also referred to as The Comfort Coach, helps others develop the perspective, tools and skills to lead fulfilling and productive lives after loss. She has shared her expertise on TV and radio, on panels, in speaking engagements and in numerous workshops.
My Living Memories Project Journal (published by Little Miami Publishing Company) includes inspirational quotes, soothing artwork and meaningful questions and activities to help foster optimistic thinking, positive projects and resilience. Integral to the new book is the questionnaire that Dr. Ain developed as a vehicle for helping people capture memories of their loved ones, and for fostering comfort, healing and hope. The journal is also an appropriate and useful tool for professionals who work with the bereaved.
Quotes and questions in My Living Memories Project Journal range from the humorous to the sublime. They run the gamut from reflecting on food and vacation memories, to pondering the enduring legacy of a loved one.
Especially appropriate families around the holidays is the quote from Florie Wachtenheim: “Cooking is an interest my mother and I shared. Having come from Europe, my mother was quite good at all the most traditional dishes, homemade gefilte fish, for example. This is probably the single tradition that I carry on and that means the most to me. She is in my head and heart when I compose each holiday menu.”
Readers are then encouraged to list favorite dishes and to share anecdotes and recipes about their loved ones and food. In other pages, readers are asked to respond to other quotes as they answer questions, such as listing their blessings, recalling loved ones’ favorite holidays, and favorite sayings.
A quote that explains an enduring legacy is from Liz Alderman, who along with her husband, Steve, established the Peter C. Alderman Foundation to honor their 25-year-old son’s memory after he was killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. She said:
“There was nothing we could do for Peter, but if we could return the survivors of terrorism to life then that would be the perfect memorial because Peter so loved life.”
Readers are then asked to consider what memorial best reflect their loved one’s qualities.
Also included are tips to help those who are grieving get through holidays and lifecycle events, and to help children deal with grief.
Meryl Ain brings not only her experience with loss to this endeavor, but her many years of expertise as a teacher, school administrator and educational leader in Jewish and public schools. She received her Ed.D. from Hofstra University, her M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College, and her B.A. from Queens College. Her articles about education, families, parenting, grief, loss and remembrance have appeared in The Huffington Post, MariaShriver.com, The New York Jewish Week, The New York Times, and Newsday.
“As I healed and comforted myself through research and writing, I sought to help others overcome their losses by inspiring them to keep memories of their loved ones alive,” Dr. Ain said.
“It’s so important for people to focus on how a loved one lived, rather than how he/she died,” she added.
Along with her husband, Stewart, and her brother, Arthur Fischman, she coauthored The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, which won a Silver Medal in the 2014 Living Now Book Awards. The “project” the authors embarked upon entailed interviews with 32 people, including such celebrities as Jack Klugman and “Lynda Bird” Robb Johnson, to help the authors learn how others coped with and transformed their grief into positive action, creative endeavors and living legacies. The Living Memories Project website and Facebook community has garnered thousands of visitors and followers.
My Living Memories Project Journal can be purchased via Amazon at http://bit.ly/amazonMLMPJ
The Living Memories Project: Legacies that Last is also available on Amazon at http://bit.ly/amazonLMPLTL