All posts by MaryMac

MaryMac is a grief and bereavement specialist, speaker, coach, consultant and author of "Understanding Your Grieving Heart After A Loved One's Death" and several other works. She is Founder and President of the Foundation for Grieving Children, Inc. (, the first national public charity of its kind which raises funds and provides grants to community-based non-profits which assist, counsel, comfort and educate children, teens, young adults and their families after a loved one's death. Her site and blog ( helps the bereaved worldwide to learn more about their grief and grieving process and to not feel so alone.

9/11 – 18 Years Later

As a native New Yorker, I had mixed feelings about visiting ground zero, the Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Years ago in 2005 I remember visiting when the pit was still there and all that you could see was the silver gate with the American Flag with all the names of those who died that day.

Yet when we finally did visit, I was mesmerized by all the artifacts and history and, of course, sorrow.

Here is what the Freedom Tower looks like today.  It’s the first of two that will grace the skyline of downtown Manhattan when they are finally finished.

I remember looking straight up to it as we stood very close and being amazed, just as I was amazed when I would be at street level and look up to the original Twin Towers.

I experienced three milestones in the Towers:  a celebratory dinner at Windows on the World with my parents the last night of classes finishing up my MBA, my engagement at the observatory deck, and my 40th birthday dinner also at Windows on the World.

I remember rifling through all my pictures to find those special photos and feeling grateful I did find them.

Here are some favorites from the 9/11 Museum:

White Rose on Victim's Birthday

They place white roses on the names of those who are having birthdays!

Andrew Fisher - WTC Victim

Andrew Fisher was the brother of Nina Fisher, who was high school friends with my brother.

Go here to see video of the grounds:  Original Footprint of WTC

This was the mangled reck of a FDNY truck!

This lady was the best tour guide!  If you take a head-set tour (and you certainly must do so), I hope you are fortunate to have her!

Here are two videos which show the details on the last piece of steel and the memorials placed on it.

Last Piece of Steel Part I

Last Piece of Steel in WTC Side 2

If you are able to visit New York and might be apprehensive to see all the history, please don’t.  It will inform you and make you so grateful that you live in the greatest nation on earth.

God Bless all those who survived, who were first responders, military who defend us, and those who died on September 11, 2001.

Dealing with the Homicide of a Loved One

Real Perspectives LogoAs many of you may know, many years ago my former husband’s daughter was murdered at the age of 11. This brought us on an 18 year journey to find her killer and another two years to see him brought to justice.

Recently I was a guest on LaTonya Moore’s radio show, Real Perspectives, where the conversation moved into how to not only handle grief after a murder, but other advice for how to more effectively move through the grieving process regardless of how your loved one died.

If you are dealing with the homicide death of a loved one, you may wish to listen in here.

Mother’s Day

I was on my AskMaryMac Facebook page and found a friend who mentioned how distraught she was that Mother’s Day was approaching and how much she missed her Mom.

She specifically spoke about how she would send her orchids each year and could no longer send them to her.

I decided to comment on her post:

“I have an idea. What if you took the money you were going to spend on orchids and bring Mother’s Day balloons to several women in a retirement or nursing home who have no children to receive anything from. Perhaps their children have predeceased them and they feel the same pain you now feel. Can you imagine all the love you would share when you see the delight on their faces when someone as wonderful as you took the time to make their day. It’s one of the greatest experiences you will ever have. Promise.”

Every moment we have the chance to make someone feel good about themselves, even when we feel so badly. It might take a little research to find a local center, but walking into women’s rooms with a colorful balloon that they could look at for weeks to come will bring joy to them. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than to surprise a strange with such kindness.

Those ‘random acts of kindness’ bring life to others…and to you. Try it. And then comment below as to what happened and share it with all of us.

Happy Mother’s Day to those who are Moms, those whose Moms aren’t with us any longer, all those who were briefly Moms before the miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death of their child or children, those Moms whose adult children have died, and those who want so much to experience the joy of being called a Mom but are struggling to become pregnant.

When the Memories Flow, Even Years Later

Grandma and DaisyThis Saturday will be the 20th Anniversary of my beloved grandmother’s death at the age of 93. And I still think of her often and I miss her.

I miss her when things get tough and she’d remind me how strong I was. She’d be there to snuggle up against, just as I remember I would as a young child.

There are so many wonderful memories with her…driving to Jones Beach for dinner and her favored Manhattans. Who said 90 year-old grandmothers are not allowed to indulge too! Or the time we bought a plant of silk violets and her roommate watered them thinking they were real. Or how she would hold my little Shih-Tsu Daisy and talk to her on the terrace, as pictured here. They just loved each other so much.

As time goes on, we never forget those who loved us and whom we loved, no matter how long it’s been since they have died or were killed. Love doesn’t leave us, just because they have.

Actually, I think it remains in our spirit and is embedded within our soul. The best part is death can never take those feelings from us. Nor can anyone else.

We may fill the void with other new people who enter our lives, but the special bond we shared can never be exactly replaced.

They were unique. Our relationship was one of a kind. And even twenty years later, I smile at the wonderful times we shared, re-read the notes I found in storage which she would send to me at college. Look at the pictures, reminisce from time to time.

The sting of grief is no longer there. But the memories and the love will stay with me forever.

Understanding Your Grieving Heart After a Loved One’s Death will help you on your journey. Tell me your experiences and memories by sharing a comment.