Dr. Meryl Ain shares her perspective on recent events, activities and opportunities to foster optimistic thinking. This blog is an opportunity to share ideas and insights.

Musings on Mortality in the Produce Aisle

Reprinted from, February 19, 2017, by Meryl Ain, Ed.D. It was just another day in what has become my routine in the seventh week following my husband’s open-heart surgery. I was in a hurry, having left him at home with his fifth bout of atrial fibrillation since the surgery. I had to pick up yet another medication from CVS, where I am sorry to say they are all too familiar with my husband’s medications, and they know who I am. With the $7 off “extra bucks” coupon I had garnered on my last trip, I decided to buy myself...
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On 9/11 Remember and Celebrate Lives of Victims With Community Service

This Sunday, September 11th,  marks the 15th Anniversary of the day that 3,000 innocent souls lost their lives in an unspeakable, horrific conflagration that was witnessed by millions on live TV. On Sunday, all New York television stations have canceled their regular programming to remember and replay the recorded events of that day. This year as it does every year one network – MSNBC — will devote 3 ½ hours to the “unedited, uninterrupted, untouched live footage of NBC’s Today Show coverage of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” an article in Slate Magazine reminds us. The piece by Jeremy Samuel Faust goes...
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The Orlando Shooting – How to Comfort Kids

Orlando — formerly known as a magical, fun venue — has now been added to a growing list of places where unspeakable horrors have been perpetuated. As we imbibe the 24/7 media coverage, we are horrified and outraged at a despicable and depraved act that has caused unspeakable suffering, pain and grief. As adults, we search for ways to console and heal the afflicted at the same time that we look for ways to make our communities and our country safer and more secure.  But how  do we — who are stunned and shaken ourselves —  comfort, reassure and empower...
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It’s Scholarship Season — Honoring Graduates and Keeping Memories Alive

“…And if you are able to take that positive energy….and move it toward something that they would be proud to be associated with, then do it. Take that positive energy and create….one scholarship….in your high school named for the person you loved so much….So do something to remember them positively in the world because you have to know, whatever your beliefs are, that they are resting much easier because you did that.” — Nick Clooney, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last It’s scholarship season and once again, I had the privilege of presenting scholarships in memory of my father...
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The Empty Seat at the Seder Table: Keeping the Memories of Loved Ones Alive

Passover is a  celebration of remembrance and renewal.  Jews gather with family and friends at seders to recall their ancestors’ redemption from slavery to freedom. It is a holiday that is rich with family traditions, rituals, and special foods. While it can be a challenge to those who have lost loved ones, it presents special opportunities to lovingly remember those who are no longer here. It is actually the perfect time for those who have had losses to draw upon the healing power of living and loving memories. Here’s an article that I wrote about this topic: The Empty Seat...
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Are You Missing Your Mom on Mother’s Day?

If you miss your mom as much as I miss mine, you’re probably feeling a bit wistful about Mother’s Day, which takes place this year on Sunday, May 10. Here’s a piece I wrote that was published in Huffington Post. It features some ideas from our book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, to help keep your mother’s legacy alive. If you have any other ways you honor your mother’s memory, please share. May you always find comfort in living and loving memories, and may the memory of your mother always be a blessing.

Talking About Grief With A Comedian

Jordon Ferber is a comedian, who tackles the intrinsically unfunny topic of grief on his podcast, Where’s The Grief? By talking about grief, which he says “can be a very isolating experience,” he hopes “to normalize the conversation, which is often difficult to discuss with friends and even family.” He says he wants to “give people who have experienced intense loss permission to talk about it and exemplify the possibility of making it through the darkest periods of grief to a life full of hope and happiness.” He often interviews fellow comedians about their losses, and although I’m no comedian, for...
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View and Send The Living Memories Project Holiday Cards

While for many this is the happiest time of the year, for those who have had a loss — especially a fresh one — getting through the holidays or lifecycle events can be extremely difficult. So it’s a good idea to think of those who may be lonely or sad at this season of the year.  We’ve created downloadable holiday cards, which are appropriate for those who are missing loved ones. Check out our Holiday Season, Christmas, and Hanukkah cards, which send a comforting and caring message of keeping memories alive. Just download and then email or post on Facebook...
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Keeping Memories Alive Through Candid Conversation

Reprinted from, Updated Apr 30, 2014, by Meryl Ain, Ed.D. Anderson Cooper and Liam Neeson courageously engaged in a conversation on 60 Minutes that we rarely see on prime time TV. Cooper interviewed Neeson about the loss of his wife, Natasha Richardson, five years after she died in a skiing accident. The community of grief is a group that no one wants to join, but we are all members at some point in our lives. Yet discussion about loss is noticeably absent from our airwaves. After the obituaries, accolades, and the funeral, we rarely talk about the long-term impact...
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Harnessing the Power of Grief

Reprinted from, March 18, 2014, by Meryl Ain My mother would have turned 93 this year. She died after a brief illness in November 2006. Although I knew she had lived a long life, I was bereft.  There is never enough time with a loved one. Although I was happily married with three grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and a granddaughter, I confess I didn’t know how I was going to go on without my mom. I was told it would get better after a year and that I needed closure. I began asking friends how to achieve it, but...
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Surviving the Holidays When You’ve Had a Loss

It’s the holiday season and everyone appears to be merry — except for everybody else who is missing a loved one! The holidays are the most difficult time of year for those who have sustained a loss. Two years ago, I wrote about the death of Susan, my sister-in-law and friend. She died a few days before Thanksgiving and her loss resonated throughout the holiday season and beyond. That first year, Susan’s Cincinnati family held a carrot cake bake-off on Thanksgiving in her memory. Everyone put on blindfolds as they taste-tested Susan’s cake and other carrot cakes — one from...
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High Holiday Season ­ A Time to Remember Loved Ones

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. While holidays typically are a challenge to those who have lost loved ones, Rosh Hashanah presents opportunities to lovingly remember them. In fact, it’s the perfect time to draw on the healing power of living and loving memories. A special custom, prayer or recipe can evoke the memory of a...
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