Huntington, NY - April 29, 2014 - The recent book launch event of The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last was well received by an audience that packed the Sky Room at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington. Hosted by nonprofit Long Island Cares, Inc., the event featured a discussion by the book’s three authors - Dr. Meryl and Stewart Ain of Commack and Dr. Meryl’s brother Arthur Fischman of Philadelphia – about the challenges of moving beyond mourning for finding positive way to channel grief into meaningful actions that can carry on a loved one’s legacy. Proceeds raised from the event totaled $2,400, which is being donated to Long Island Cares, the organization founded by the late folk singer Harry Chapin that is dedicated to bringing together resources for the benefit of the hungry on Long Island.
The authors spoke of their own loss of loved ones, reasons for writing the book and experiences in interviewing people across the country whose stories comprise the 196 page book, which is now available at www.amazon.com.
“This book gives us a meaningful way to connect with others to let them know that we all share similar feelings and emotions when we lose a close family member or friend,” Dr. Meryl Ain told the more than 80 persons in attendance. “One way to heal is to consider ways to keep the person’s memory alive.”
Chapin’s daughter Jen Chapin, who is among those featured in The Living Memories Project, was a special guest at the event and spoke about the ways she has kept her father’s legacy alive through his music and her active role in maintaining the projects he started. A professional singer, Chapin also captivated the audience with an inspirational song she composed.
Chapin’s mother Sandy was in attendance, offering insight about her husband’s humanitarian work and his music during informal discussions with audience members following the presentation. Janine Lavery of Islip and Leona Schwartz of Dix Hills, two others featured in the book, were also on hand to offer glimpses about their own stories.
During a question and answer period, some of those in attendance spoke of their personal experiences with grief and thanked the authors for understanding how difficult it is to move beyond mourning to preserve the legacies of loved ones. Many said they were motivated by the presentation and discussion, and sent e-mails to express their appreciation.
“The presentations and photos truly encouraged me to look forward to an easier grieving process,” said Marilyn Shapiro of Floral Park. “Many of the strategies my family and I have already taken; however, the reinforcement obtained by learning what other like-minded individuals are experiencing will be powerful. ...An extra special joy (of the evening) was meeting Jen and Sandy Chapin. Harry was one of my idols. Sandy was so gracious in telling us how she contributed words to many of Harry’s songs, including quite a bit of detail about Cat’s in the Cradle. It was magical….”
Dr. Meryl Ain said the authors found it “gratifying to know we are inspiring and motivating people to act by giving them real life examples of deeds and actions that others have initiated to preserve the legacies of their loved ones. …The book was cathartic and therapeutic for us to research and write. It is our hope that readers will find inspiration and healing in the many ways that the people we interviewed have preserved the memories, values, and passions of their loved ones.”
The Living Memories Project describes through interviews, anecdotes, essays, poems and photographs the different ways people remember loved ones. For instance, retired journalist and television host Nick Clooney speaks about the way he memorializes his sisters, Rosemary and Betty Clooney; actor Jack Klugman recalls his longtime acting partner, Tony Randall; Lynda Johnson Robb speaks about her mother; and author Malachy McCourt discusses keeping alive the memory of his brother, Frank, author of “Angela’s Ashes.”
Pictured (Feature Photo): Pictured at the recent Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last book launch event benefiting nonprofit organization Long Island Cares is (front row from left to right) singer/songwriter Jen Chapin with co-authors Stewart Ain and Dr. Meryl Ain and pictured in back is co-author Arthur Fischman.
Pictured: Pictured at the recent Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last book launch event benefiting nonprofit organization Long Island Cares is singer/songwriter Jen Chapin performing while (from left to right) Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last co-authors Stewart Ain and Arthur Fischman look on.