Extra Innings

Monday, September 20, 2021
Facebook Live Video from 2021/09/20 - How To Deal With Trauma

Facebook Live Video from 2021/09/20 - How To Deal With Trauma


2021/09/20 - How To Deal With Trauma

[NEW EPISODE] How To Deal With Trauma

Merissa Nathan Gerson is the author of Forget Prayers, Bring Cake: A Single Woman’s Guide to Grieving. Her writing also appears in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Playboy, Tablet, Modern Loss, Lilith, and beyond.

She was the inherited trauma consultant to Amazon’s Emmy-winning show "Transparent" and she speaks nationwide on inherited trauma, consent education, and religious sex education. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Merissa lives in Mid-City, New Orleans where she teaches at Tulane University.

Tune in for this important conversation at or watch the Facebook Livestream by Clicking Here.

Show Notes

Segment 1

 {Segment 1 was about 24 minutes long into the show}

Starting off tonight's show, Albert talks about the various topics of mental health and introduces his guest for tonight, Merrisa Gerson, the author of Forget Prayers, Bring Cake: A Single Woman’s Guide to Grieving. Merrisa is coming to us from New Orleans where they recently are recovering from a heavy storm that caused a bit of destruction. Though the people of New Orleans have a great spirit and are staying strong to move forward. Albert asks Gerson about her journey to living there. Gerson wanted an exciting change in life, especially academically and fell in love with the city. When talking about her reasons for writing her book, she explains that this idea came after her father had passed away and learned without much support about grieving. 

Merrisa also explains about inherited trauma. She grew up from a background where her family were victims of the Holocaust and explains that such traumas and history can follow and pass on through generations in different ways. Talking more about her book, Merrisa says that the title came up as she felt frustrated about what she was going through with her father’s death and her experiences with grieving. The title was also meant to be funny and her goal was to help others with her book; to give others the support she unfortunately couldn't have while grieving whether it was after a death or even moving forward in life. Albert and Gerson also speak on boundaries when grieving and what it means in this topic when different people in one’s life try to support you.

Segment 2

Coming back from the break, they continue their discussion on boundaries when grieving. One example is spiritual grieving. Gerson reads an excerpt from her book. She explains that at a time when grieving, many of our boundaries or social rules can easily be broken because we are vulnerable during this time. Because of this, she reminds us, as she also explains in her book, about learning how to articulate what you need and how you feel without getting very angry at someone or saying something you don’t mean. But she also says that even when you explain what you need to someone, they still may feel rejected. In this situation, if the person yells at you for instance, Gerson says that it’s okay to step away from this person. Albert says that it’s about “gearing who you’re talking to” because everyone grieves differently. Merrisa also speaks about parts of her book where she wrote about how to find a grief counselor or even how to find the right ritual or reinvent a ritual to honor your loved one based on her experiences.

Segment 3

Gerson talks more about religious rituals. She speaks about how she had to draw her own limits when trying to grieve the way she learned in her life. Gerson also makes a point that we shouldn’t be afraid of death and the only way to do so is to be prepared, hence one of the reasons why she wrote this book. Gerson also explains that during this time, we should be able to express ourselves how we feel is necessary and not take anything for granted because not everything or everyone lasts forever. The current situation in New Orleans is one example because for a couple of weeks, there were no restaurants, no electricity and people had to leave their homes. Going back to the topic of cake from the title of her book, she has learned that cake, especially in New Orleans, is historic and also represents coming together for a birth and for the joy of life. She was reminded by this that even though one may be grieving the death of someone, you are here and there are people around you. There are many people around you to love and celebrate life with as well. Albert thanks Merrisa for joining him for tonight’s episode and loves how passionate she is about this topic and her book. You can get Merrisa Gerson’s book at almost all book retailers such as Amazon, Target, and more.

Segment 4


00:05:24.180 --> 00:05:33.150 Albert Dabah: hi there, welcome to extra innings covering all the bases, my name is Albert dabba and I am the host of extra innings.

00:05:34.290 --> 00:05:45.330 Albert Dabah: On the podcast that we have been going now since January we talk about many different kinds of subjects, but particularly about mental wellness.

00:05:45.690 --> 00:06:06.060 Albert Dabah: Mental illness and all kinds of maladies that people have including bipolar disorder anxiety disorder a suicide subjects that people normally do not like to talk about or find that are difficult to talk about and I believe there is a stigma about.

00:06:07.590 --> 00:06:13.410 Albert Dabah: Mental illness and about people talking about themselves when they're having their troubles.

00:06:15.030 --> 00:06:32.700 Albert Dabah: We have had on many different kinds of guests, people who have written books like tonight we have on a wonderful a woman who's written a book her name is marissa gerson and the book is called forget prayers bring cake.

00:06:34.170 --> 00:06:39.030 Albert Dabah: we'll get to her in a few minutes, we also have had on.

00:06:40.290 --> 00:06:56.100 Albert Dabah: actors from a film that I made called extra innings which basically reviews and kind of documents, the real story, the true story of my life growing up in the 1960s, in a home that had.

00:06:57.480 --> 00:07:00.840 Albert Dabah: many kinds of issues and challenges to deal with.

00:07:02.640 --> 00:07:14.820 Albert Dabah: So after making the film, I decided to do a podcast about the film and about issues such as we're going to be talking about we talked about we've had on poets we've had on writers.

00:07:15.750 --> 00:07:26.700 Albert Dabah: Doctors therapist and all have really given their best in terms of how to deal with some of these challenges that we deal with so.

00:07:27.660 --> 00:07:43.980 Albert Dabah: I have been also running a production company called Simba productions, for the past 41 years doing all kinds of videos and films for all kinds of different clients and businesses but extra innings my feature film my first feature film.

00:07:45.300 --> 00:08:00.120 Albert Dabah: was the first one that we actually are showing on our website, as well as on Amazon and about six other platforms, so now i'll introduce to you marissa gerson.

00:08:01.470 --> 00:08:02.880 Albert Dabah: marissa how are you today.

00:08:06.870 --> 00:08:08.100 Albert Dabah: Oh, I can't hear you.

00:08:08.790 --> 00:08:11.940 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I said i'm doing wonderful Thank you so much i'm glad to be here.

00:08:12.300 --> 00:08:30.990 Albert Dabah: Oh, thank you, thanks, Murcia you we've talked a couple of times before this and I have your book, I have not finished reading it, but but it's a really wonderful i've read about five chapters and it's a wonderful beginning of a book to really get you started on.

00:08:32.520 --> 00:08:40.020 Albert Dabah: How how to deal with grief and and the way you have it laid out in chapters, I think, is wonderful.

00:08:41.160 --> 00:08:45.120 Albert Dabah: So i'd like to talk to you about that you live in New Orleans is that right.

00:08:45.150 --> 00:08:47.010 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): yeah i'm in New Orleans right now.

00:08:47.640 --> 00:08:55.980 Albert Dabah: So tell me something about New Orleans has a special place in my heart i've been there, a couple of times and it gets on the news a lot for all different kinds of reasons and.

00:08:57.390 --> 00:08:59.550 Albert Dabah: you're not originally from New Orleans is that right.

00:08:59.730 --> 00:09:10.590 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): No i'm from Washington DC and I moved here in 2019, so this is my second, this is my the beginning of my third year here now.

00:09:11.010 --> 00:09:13.620 Albert Dabah: Okay, so what's it like there in New Orleans these days.

00:09:14.490 --> 00:09:24.990 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): uh it's it feels a little bit like what it might feel like after the Apocalypse and we all come back together and start over we've had a pretty.

00:09:25.710 --> 00:09:35.820 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): horrific storm here, and some people, probably don't notice too much, I mean we still have a lot of debris in the streets and we're still having some trouble with trash removal.

00:09:36.720 --> 00:09:42.480 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But there's a lot of homes and communities and businesses that are currently still shut down.

00:09:42.990 --> 00:09:52.920 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): restaurants down the street that won't be opening for a while I just today, actually went to this remarkable museum called the backwater cultural museum and the true may and it's.

00:09:53.400 --> 00:10:02.070 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): It holds like a family that's preserved the history of second lines and mardi gras Indians and a tree fell right on the on top of the museum so we've.

00:10:02.070 --> 00:10:16.980 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): been I spent part of my day to day in a u haul helping them take the contents of the museum to a storage unit to help preserve the history of New Orleans, and so it is precarious here right now, but the spirit is strong and the weather happens to be perfect today.

00:10:17.250 --> 00:10:21.150 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): we're expecting a cold front, which we were all holding our breath for.

00:10:21.570 --> 00:10:21.900 Oh.

00:10:22.980 --> 00:10:31.680 Albert Dabah: yeah I actually now that I think about it, we showed the film extra innings before coven started, we were showing extra innings in different festivals.

00:10:32.010 --> 00:10:41.340 Albert Dabah: All around the country, including going to London once and it will be shown in Australia coming up, and I think they delayed because of Kobe in March.

00:10:43.020 --> 00:10:48.030 Albert Dabah: But I always love New Orleans the couple times i've been there, I found it a fun city to be.

00:10:49.440 --> 00:10:50.460 Albert Dabah: So um.

00:10:51.660 --> 00:10:54.870 Albert Dabah: So what made you move from Washington to New Orleans.

00:10:55.410 --> 00:10:58.410 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Well, I mean i've lived in probably 10 cities.

00:10:59.280 --> 00:11:04.890 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): In between, I grew up, I mean it's hard my narrative isn't easy to follow I grew up in DC.

00:11:05.610 --> 00:11:14.130 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But I moved to New Orleans from Massachusetts and I was living in a pretty rural part in the end wasn't finding enough access to.

00:11:14.580 --> 00:11:21.510 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): different communities, I was hoping for an academic opportunity and I just I was ready for something exciting and for a change.

00:11:21.840 --> 00:11:32.370 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And I fall in love with a house in New Orleans and I was already in love with the city, so I moved here and took a took a pretty big risk and a lot has followed and really wonderful ways.

00:11:32.580 --> 00:11:37.230 Albert Dabah: wow great now did you tell me, I believe you told me you lived in martha's vineyard is that right.

00:11:37.620 --> 00:11:48.780 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I yeah that's the smoke Community I always say in Massachusetts I have, because when I say martha's vineyard to most people they hear like Oh, the kennedys and the summer and.

00:11:49.110 --> 00:11:57.900 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like the inkwell and this like very populated scene, but I lived there only offseason so I always just say a rural part of Massachusetts because it.

00:11:58.260 --> 00:12:06.000 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): saves me from filling in the blanks but I was living there when the you know the population swells by like 300% almost in the summer.

00:12:06.450 --> 00:12:18.810 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And so the winter is very different, and I realized I needed I needed more for my just for what I was working on in my own life, so I came down here, and one of my topics of focus is inherited trauma.

00:12:19.260 --> 00:12:26.550 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And lens is a great teacher for someone like me who's interested in, you know what do we do with legacies of pain and what do we do.

00:12:26.970 --> 00:12:37.530 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): With legacies of injustice and what do we do with legacies of slavery and of genocide and other things, of the sort, what do we do with legacies of hurricanes like Katrina and.

00:12:38.010 --> 00:12:42.870 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Community failure and city failures and things like that so i've learned quite a bit living here.

00:12:43.530 --> 00:12:52.890 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And the reason I wrote the book was because I moved here and a week later, my father grew ill with a rare brain disease and so he died two months after I got here, but I.

00:12:53.730 --> 00:13:08.700 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I did come here from martha's vineyard I was living in a part of the island that's really very sparsely populated in the winter and, I dare any of you to do a full winter there, the only locals know the strength of the martha's vineyard winters little intense.

00:13:09.060 --> 00:13:09.240 Were.

00:13:10.380 --> 00:13:11.490 Albert Dabah: Part of the live.

00:13:11.610 --> 00:13:13.410 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I was in chilmark on the North.

00:13:13.440 --> 00:13:15.450 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): side the wind is really intensive.

00:13:16.740 --> 00:13:27.000 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): You know, depending on the winter it's not so bad, but I happen to be there for some pretty icy stormy nor'easter winters and I am be so I got to I got to New Orleans and.

00:13:27.450 --> 00:13:35.010 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I part of living in a beautiful island in the winter where there's not that many people, as you form really close relationships.

00:13:35.370 --> 00:13:40.650 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And it was hard to leave my Community it was hard I knew everyone at the coffee shop every time I went.

00:13:41.190 --> 00:13:50.850 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): So it was hard to come here, I didn't know anyone and then my dad got sick and then my dad died two months later, and I, and I was like kicking myself a little it's like I just took this.

00:13:51.300 --> 00:13:57.750 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): giant leap into the unknown with very little support, and so this book is really about me calling on.

00:13:58.260 --> 00:14:04.140 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): All of the things that I have learned over the years that helped get me through that period of my life, where I didn't.

00:14:04.620 --> 00:14:20.430 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): You know wasn't in it wasn't in a nasty wasn't in like a warm happy like you know comforting I mean i'm not sure any of us when death comes or like like perfectly situated, but this was me figuring out how to get the support I needed when I was sort of a fish out of water.

00:14:20.880 --> 00:14:22.770 Albert Dabah: Right right well you.

00:14:24.840 --> 00:14:33.630 Albert Dabah: I heard about you from Nancy an irony, who lives all around and martha's vineyard, who is a dear friend of mine so.

00:14:34.680 --> 00:14:47.640 Albert Dabah: it's funny because you never know who you're going to meet and how you're going to meet them so meet you um you just mentioned something that I never heard of before you said inherited trauma, I believe, is that what you said.

00:14:48.090 --> 00:14:59.100 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Yes, the inherited trauma is the focus of most of my research and my work before I moved here and it's i'm not sure it's its own formal field, but in my life it's the study of.

00:14:59.580 --> 00:15:11.790 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): What happens to war, what happens to genocide, what happens to Community violence, what happens to racism in the next generation, so I grew up in a family with the Holocaust legacy.

00:15:12.210 --> 00:15:22.470 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And with a lot of murder in our family history, and so I studied over the years and my own academic research what happened to their pain, because it didn't get processed.

00:15:22.770 --> 00:15:30.990 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): What happened when like you know my grandmother lost her siblings and her parents to murder and then came to start over again, so I was really interested in.

00:15:31.320 --> 00:15:39.000 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Where does our pain go when it's you know, for those of us that are you know, I was born into like a very easy privilege childhood.

00:15:39.540 --> 00:15:48.630 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): With like, but the House was almost like the House was like what it was like poltergeist see like a very beautiful house sort of shaking at the edges, a little bit with history.

00:15:49.230 --> 00:15:57.120 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): So I can explain more it's a sort of a longer explanation, maybe after the break I will explain a little bit more about inherited trauma and what that looks like.

00:15:57.510 --> 00:16:06.240 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But it's sort of just asking a formal question of do we pass pain on culturally do we pass pain on and family patterns of violence.

00:16:06.630 --> 00:16:22.560 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Do we pass pain on through different systems of thought and looking at where we passing pain, where are we holding pain for other people that wasn't ours, but now is our own i'm looking at that sort of inherited legacies of pain and New Orleans has a lot of inherited legacies of pain.

00:16:22.920 --> 00:16:43.230 Albert Dabah: Well, you know that's really what you're saying is you know makes total sense to me, I never heard it that way, particularly, you know as a as a city or you know, a town that you're saying New Orleans has that inherited place and and I think probably many others as well.

00:16:45.570 --> 00:16:49.230 Albert Dabah: So, in your book you talk about.

00:16:50.670 --> 00:17:02.460 Albert Dabah: Coming dealing with your passing of your father or and not just the passing but seeing him as he was just at the end of his life is that right.

00:17:02.970 --> 00:17:03.360 yeah.

00:17:04.380 --> 00:17:09.960 Albert Dabah: Obviously it's pretty dramatic and it's it's difficult to deal with, and I think.

00:17:11.730 --> 00:17:25.470 Albert Dabah: What I found in reading what I read so far, was that sometimes when you read something like this it it, it can hit you all different kinds of ways, but what I found in reading it it's almost like.

00:17:28.560 --> 00:17:38.430 Albert Dabah: it's like a practical guide on how to deal with trauma and grief like different things, you can do different things that you might feel different things that come up.

00:17:39.000 --> 00:17:48.510 Albert Dabah: And how to deal with them and it's interesting because of a really good friend of mine just called me about his son who's having some difficulty in his life who's you know.

00:17:49.080 --> 00:18:01.110 Albert Dabah: 28 years old, but at any age we can deal we might have something that we have to deal with such as death or some kind of trauma, so what.

00:18:02.040 --> 00:18:17.910 Albert Dabah: My question is for anyone who writes a book what what led you to writing a book on on and also where the title come from I love the title because it's like you know you know eat cake forget prayers bring cake.

00:18:19.650 --> 00:18:24.990 Albert Dabah: You know you're Jewish right and as the first thing I thought i'd see a Jewish woman before.

00:18:26.730 --> 00:18:30.360 Albert Dabah: Because I don't know it's always about eating something.

00:18:31.770 --> 00:18:32.760 Albert Dabah: To make you feel good.

00:18:33.900 --> 00:18:41.610 Albert Dabah: Which is, we need to eat but tell me a little bit about the title and what made you what got you into writing the book.

00:18:42.450 --> 00:18:53.070 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Sure, the title forget Paris bring cake was sort of a tongue in cheek just like frustration in the midst of my grief, you know as my father was dying.

00:18:53.910 --> 00:19:05.790 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): There was a need for certain like tangible care and people were praying for me and I was so grateful for prayer and also at times it felt imposing when it wasn't a prayer tradition that I shared.

00:19:06.210 --> 00:19:12.270 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): or sometimes people were coming real close to my dad's soul in certain ways like a.

00:19:12.780 --> 00:19:21.300 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): praying for just all kinds of like things that I was curious about boundaries, and you know do my new my new thing is.

00:19:21.690 --> 00:19:31.680 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): asking you know I love to pray the irony of the book is i'm very prayerful person and it's a it's a daily part of my life and I love prayer like deeply truly and.

00:19:32.310 --> 00:19:38.520 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But i'm noticing that it's important to have boundaries with prayer and ask like are you comfortable with prayer and.

00:19:38.820 --> 00:19:46.830 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): The brigade part was basically that there was, I mean the book title just came from my experience and my grief, but the book itself came from.

00:19:47.100 --> 00:19:55.080 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): me realizing that when I was home with my two siblings that I was processing the experience really differently partially because of who I am.

00:19:55.470 --> 00:20:00.930 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): and partially because I didn't have someone else constantly living with me and checking in on me and.

00:20:01.320 --> 00:20:10.830 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like holding me through it, I was sourcing my grief differently, and I think the prayers part for me was like what will reach me right now in my isolation and sometimes the prayer was really nice.

00:20:11.160 --> 00:20:18.300 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But what I thought I really needed was somebody to put their love into an act that was tangible and come towards me with it and that's what the cake.

00:20:18.930 --> 00:20:27.150 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): It was supposed to be funny which I think it is and it's also emblematic of what I think single women need, which is visible tangible pair.

00:20:27.660 --> 00:20:31.170 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): From the people that love them when there aren't getting touch and they're not getting.

00:20:32.100 --> 00:20:38.820 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I mean someone some single women are getting plenty of touch, but the ones that aren't having a consistent partner or a consistent roommate even.

00:20:39.330 --> 00:20:47.010 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): acts like bringing a cake might resonate just so much more loudly and so that was sort of the the inception of this book was.

00:20:47.850 --> 00:21:00.480 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Can I make Can I make it easier for other women going through what i'm going through Can I make this Can I make it easier for someone can I give them the book I wish I had so I wrote it.

00:21:01.290 --> 00:21:10.380 Albert Dabah: You think, do you think the book is, as you were writing the book and you just said, for women need to touch you think it's more for women, or is it can be for anyone.

00:21:11.670 --> 00:21:18.480 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I mean the treatise of the book is for women, but the book can be read by anyone, I mean you have to be strong, to read a book that's directed at women.

00:21:19.020 --> 00:21:28.590 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And know you know you can this book is for everybody, and I think there are some men that wouldn't be able to handle that the messages towards a woman, I have no idea who knows, but.

00:21:29.130 --> 00:21:41.250 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): The women that I found have been most touched by this book are actually elder married women and it's because it's my story it's not necessarily here's what you should do as much as here's what I went through.

00:21:42.180 --> 00:21:52.620 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But a lot of people are really telling me that it's useful in retro actively revisiting old grief and revisiting how they dealt with it and giving themselves like almost a new life, a new love.

00:21:52.920 --> 00:21:59.850 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): In this time because the book tells my story of what it felt like for me moving to New Orleans and losing my father and.

00:22:00.810 --> 00:22:07.980 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): navigating like I was sort of like wrangling, my friends, for a year, because I was in the House by myself, I knew that too much of that was going to.

00:22:08.520 --> 00:22:13.560 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Probably make me, you know now it's an interesting book, because I was going to say it's going to make me go crazy, but I have.

00:22:14.160 --> 00:22:21.000 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I have so many women friends who lost parents during the pandemic who lived alone and went through and alone, and so the book.

00:22:21.690 --> 00:22:29.850 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): yeah I mean it's a it's a relevant thing like what does it mean to live alone and grieve and what does it mean when you already feel like you're a problem, and you need more and more help.

00:22:31.050 --> 00:22:38.700 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): To be to feel loved and to be loved and sort of like a proclamation of like you deserve it, but the book is organized in such a way that it's it's.

00:22:39.990 --> 00:22:47.040 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): it's the timeline goes according to what happened to me and then it's interspersed with advice to people along the way of.

00:22:47.550 --> 00:22:56.940 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Okay here's what I learned in that lesson here's what I can offer you and some of its like organized for the graver who can't read i'm a lot of women and men, and whoever like.

00:22:57.390 --> 00:23:06.240 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Forget the gender binary also like non binary people who are reading this book or reading or reading any book after death there's this element of.

00:23:06.750 --> 00:23:14.940 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): The inability to focus all together and i'm sure everyone knows that moment in life, maybe all the time, where it's really hard to focus on a full narrative so I.

00:23:15.240 --> 00:23:21.420 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I really wanted it to have a table of contents where, if you can't read the whole book, but you really need an after death checklist.

00:23:21.750 --> 00:23:32.490 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like what to do when someone dies, who do I call, what do I need to do legally that's in the book, so that you can just flip to that page and have it, rather than read the whole thing if your attention span is shorter.

00:23:33.510 --> 00:23:42.540 Albert Dabah: yeah that's what I was right before the show started, I was talking about the fact that I love the outline of the book and how you have it all laid out because.

00:23:44.100 --> 00:23:48.120 Albert Dabah: You know, when I looked at it not reading the whole book when I looked at all the different.

00:23:49.050 --> 00:23:59.970 Albert Dabah: contents and I said wow that's that's pretty cool to you know go to page one, whatever and see what to do about this um I I think it's something that.

00:24:00.960 --> 00:24:10.500 Albert Dabah: I mean frankly I think it's you know I know you mentioned women is for everyone, and I really do think it's for everyone, because I mean you know, sometimes.

00:24:12.480 --> 00:24:19.560 Albert Dabah: You know I live alone right now right and and i'm seeing someone, and I do want to we talked about living together i'm.

00:24:20.160 --> 00:24:28.170 Albert Dabah: divorced now eight years living alone, and you know we talk about living together but she's not ready at this point and I.

00:24:28.830 --> 00:24:31.620 Albert Dabah: said well why do you need to live together, and I said well.

00:24:32.310 --> 00:24:44.070 Albert Dabah: Because I would like to like to share my life with someone and I don't want, you know as opposed to being like you know, seeing someone just on a weekend or three nights but really share a place together because there's a big difference.

00:24:45.450 --> 00:24:58.260 Albert Dabah: And you know, but this friend of mine actually has not ever had a really long commitment with anyone, even though he was married with lasted only four years, and I find it, you know.

00:24:59.340 --> 00:25:02.520 Albert Dabah: You know, some people say i'm very sensitive and I think I am.

00:25:02.910 --> 00:25:03.240 yeah.

00:25:04.620 --> 00:25:15.240 Albert Dabah: I mean I you know, had to deal with a lot of grief at with my own family and dealing with death and at a younger age and.

00:25:16.710 --> 00:25:31.830 Albert Dabah: I think it brings you, you know closer to a sense of reality about life that other people might not be dealing with until later, but then there's all kinds of trauma and grief that people deal with it's not.

00:25:33.240 --> 00:25:43.080 Albert Dabah: You know, we were talking about that the other day about dealing with trauma people who have been through wars and lost their loved ones, or you know now with coven.

00:25:44.250 --> 00:25:54.990 Albert Dabah: People have lost loved ones so it's a fact of life, you we don't live forever and what happens after and and what you said something really interesting that I wanted to touch on is that.

00:25:55.770 --> 00:26:06.810 Albert Dabah: boundaries that sometimes people cross boundaries when they're trying to help, but maybe through their prayers but i'll tell you one you might think this is.

00:26:07.860 --> 00:26:12.600 Albert Dabah: Pretty interesting for me it was when my father was dying.

00:26:14.310 --> 00:26:27.000 Albert Dabah: And he had suffered a lot in his life, and it was clear that he was on his deathbed from talking to many doctors, I was in charging my family to talk to the doctors and.

00:26:27.540 --> 00:26:38.940 Albert Dabah: We switch them to another hospital, and all this stuff and I ended up getting married in the hospital because they thought he was going to go that next day or so.

00:26:40.740 --> 00:26:45.930 Albert Dabah: And it turned out, he lived another year and a half or two years.

00:26:46.440 --> 00:26:58.320 Albert Dabah: And I really felt that that getting married they're not by his bedside they wouldn't let that because they thought it would be too much, but in the Chapel in the hospital mount Sinai hospital in Miami.

00:26:58.830 --> 00:27:08.190 Albert Dabah: And we transferred him that day to the hospital from another one, because the main doctor I said what would you do if was your father and he said I would get them to another hospital mount Sinai.

00:27:09.090 --> 00:27:20.280 Albert Dabah: story short, we got married he lived for another year and a half, two years and I really felt that made a difference and when he passed on.

00:27:21.330 --> 00:27:32.040 Albert Dabah: It was clear that this is going to be the end i'll get to this real quick, we have a commercial coming up this rabbi came to me and said I looked in his eyes, and this is like maybe he passed on two days later.

00:27:32.580 --> 00:27:42.450 Albert Dabah: And he said I know he's going to live, I know he's gonna live he's going to make it through, and then you know at that point, I was like go away don't don't don't you know I.

00:27:42.990 --> 00:27:50.910 Albert Dabah: it's Nice that you're here and you're giving your wishes, and your prayers but don't tell me, you know I didn't say that I just looked at him thinking.

00:27:51.990 --> 00:27:55.020 Albert Dabah: It was it was arrogant, it was like he was a prophet and he knows.

00:27:55.590 --> 00:28:01.830 Albert Dabah: i'm really bothered me and I really feel when you say cross boundaries eat to me he push boundaries right there.

00:28:02.100 --> 00:28:07.050 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): yeah well that's The other thing is, I think a lot of us don't even know what a boundary is.

00:28:07.350 --> 00:28:15.900 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): that's part of the issue and theologically I would I often would say things to friends like I think your father is here in the room.

00:28:16.350 --> 00:28:25.350 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I feel him with us, I know he's proud of you, and now that my own father's dead I don't say those things anymore, because they presume.

00:28:25.950 --> 00:28:32.400 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): A shared understanding of the divine and many of us just don't have that or a shared understanding of the afterlife like.

00:28:32.820 --> 00:28:42.090 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): A lot of people some it's confusing, because sometimes I love it like if the right person is connected enough and says to me Oh, I know your father's really proud of you right now.

00:28:42.480 --> 00:28:48.600 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): It feels it kind of feels good sometimes, but most of the time it feels like how the heck do you know if my dad's here.

00:28:50.160 --> 00:29:02.010 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): it's a question of I think like what I like to practice now is like, would you be comfortable if I share what you know how like this thought about put sort of like a supernatural but people love to say that.

00:29:02.760 --> 00:29:05.580 Albert Dabah: I just need to stop you for a minute, because we have to go to a break.

00:29:05.820 --> 00:29:14.340 Albert Dabah: yeah man I missed it there, but so will you make or break right now we'll continue with marissa when we get right back, thank you.

00:31:50.910 --> 00:32:03.180 Albert Dabah: hi we're back with marissa marissa and we've been talking about her book forget prayers bring cake, you were talking about, we were talking about boundaries, so when we left off.

00:32:04.320 --> 00:32:10.680 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Big topic yeah We were the first ones we were talking about were like spiritual boundaries and.

00:32:12.180 --> 00:32:20.490 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): yeah I think it's one of the Rules, I have for when I visited agree, for now, that i've been you know i've grieved in my life many things, but i've never been.

00:32:21.030 --> 00:32:32.610 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): The daughter of a dead dad and like going through that experience my thresholds are different, and I think what I love is to take the cues from the grave or themselves, so I think in life and.

00:32:33.120 --> 00:32:45.750 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): it's weird because boundaries simply mean like ways in which we protect ourselves and others, and when when we are grieving I feel like so many rules like social rules die.

00:32:46.170 --> 00:32:53.970 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And we stopped doing things the way we were quote unquote supposed to and I thought, if it's helpful, I could just amendment just read to you.

00:32:54.330 --> 00:33:03.450 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): from page 109 of this book where there's actually a two page sort of spread on setting your own boundaries and it says what is a boundary.

00:33:04.200 --> 00:33:18.540 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): According to educator activist and researcher mackenzie MAC boundary work is the process, the practice and the process of acting on our right to decide when and how our physical, mental.

00:33:19.080 --> 00:33:26.280 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): and emotional capacity will be used and for what purpose so it's saying like we'd make that decision that says.

00:33:26.610 --> 00:33:34.110 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And then I say this is no longer quote this is more than just saying no or refusing to do things that make us profoundly uncomfortable.

00:33:34.380 --> 00:33:47.640 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): When already living in a state of discomfort, it is an act of protecting sacred inner space of making choices and speaking limits out loud of allowing room within us to go through the work of grief and mourning, and I think.

00:33:48.240 --> 00:33:52.290 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like socio culturally, we all have boundaries in place like i'm from Washington DC.

00:33:52.710 --> 00:34:00.210 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): From a sort of affluent part of the city where lots of unspoken boundaries are a part of our lexicon but but grief sort of.

00:34:00.510 --> 00:34:12.450 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): because so many parts of our sort of Defense system get broken down and when we're in an extreme state of pain and loss it's really important to be able to say what you need and to set sort of the limits of the room.

00:34:13.020 --> 00:34:16.800 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): so that you know I think my goal, also in this particular chapter was like.

00:34:17.220 --> 00:34:25.830 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): don't yell at your friends don't yell at your family, how can you get to that point and I know myself and many others got into like a lot of yelling when they were grieving.

00:34:26.250 --> 00:34:31.410 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And how to mitigate that, and so one of the ways is to start to sort of verbally articulate limits.

00:34:32.340 --> 00:34:37.620 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): When I wrote why the boundaries matter more in times of grief, we are vulnerable when we agreed.

00:34:38.340 --> 00:34:47.310 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): tender in new ways parts of us, we spent years shielding and protecting and refusing to touch might suddenly be raw and exposed.

00:34:47.640 --> 00:34:54.870 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): This is a time that warrants protecting and also a time that likely demands so much strength and hard work in new ways.

00:34:55.290 --> 00:35:05.190 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): This hard work also deserves to be honored and protected and given ample space don't wait for someone else to protect you, you are the protector now.

00:35:05.820 --> 00:35:14.070 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): setting boundaries is really about stating needs and being honest with ourselves about where we are in this moment and how that changes over time.

00:35:14.460 --> 00:35:21.660 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): it's also includes saying know learning how to say I can't be there for you and know what to expect when someone hates you for it.

00:35:22.140 --> 00:35:27.240 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Saying no and pulling in words as long as the risk is not too great is encouraged.

00:35:27.840 --> 00:35:34.830 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Things like that so it's like asking for help and then for parent this chapter also talks about a lot of i'm sure everyone's had that moment where.

00:35:35.100 --> 00:35:40.620 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): You say hey I can't you know that's beyond my comfort zone or I can't do that in someone's so mad at you.

00:35:41.430 --> 00:35:48.030 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): very, very quickly, because they think it's about not loving them rather than it being about you like tonight i'm supposed to meet a friend.

00:35:48.630 --> 00:35:59.250 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And we're going to an outdoor event at like 715 she said, can I come to your House and then we'll go over together and I realized the answers tonight the answer for me is no i'd rather meet you there.

00:35:59.940 --> 00:36:09.720 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Because I need a little space after I do you know I just taught a two lane all day and and then a radio interview i'll need some personal space to just reset myself for human company.

00:36:10.620 --> 00:36:17.460 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But I can tell, she doesn't she's mad she she like that she doesn't like that I drew about like that I drew the curtains on what her request was and.

00:36:17.850 --> 00:36:23.820 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): that's something that I want people to like prepare themselves for that people might get mad at you, it says, people will often retaliate.

00:36:24.150 --> 00:36:34.380 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): When you set limits to protect yourself saying no to things we used to always say yes to will shock, a lot of people, and it will make people who don't understand the depths of your experience angry.

00:36:35.040 --> 00:36:40.020 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): know their rage is more often than not about their own weird issues and it's not your problem.

00:36:40.350 --> 00:36:48.210 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): They probably feel rejected by you and hopefully that praise, this is a place you're supposed to say like I, and I did this like I would love to be with you.

00:36:48.690 --> 00:36:58.740 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I can't and then say I can't wait to see you later to give them as like praise damn much to mitigate that sort of rejection, you want to be aware that everyone always feels rejected, so you don't want to make them feel that way.

00:36:59.130 --> 00:37:05.430 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And there's like ways to set boundaries that you know I could have just texted her know and I made it really clear what was going on, so.

00:37:06.390 --> 00:37:12.240 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And then also calibrate when the reactions of others really don't meet the gravity of the moment and step away.

00:37:12.660 --> 00:37:22.620 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): So there will be times when you say no, and someone to start screaming at you, and if you know that you didn't do very much, then you can you can walk away it's not yours to take care of their yelling.

00:37:23.130 --> 00:37:29.250 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And it's really, really hard and boundaries are about caring not fighting to remind you.

00:37:29.790 --> 00:37:39.420 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): That you are worthy of these limits set to protect guard and grow the best parts of you, you could buy so there's like this is just reminding you to care for yourself and set boundaries.

00:37:39.660 --> 00:37:51.780 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But it's hard work, I mean I think when we're grieving we're stepping outside of traditional society, I mean our society doesn't build a lot of room for grief so we're stepping outside of normative behavior and.

00:37:52.230 --> 00:37:57.810 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): That requires a little bit of like careful protecting because some people are going to pop you know.

00:37:58.080 --> 00:37:59.070 Albert Dabah: yeah yeah.

00:38:00.150 --> 00:38:04.440 Albert Dabah: You know some of the things that you just talked about I think don't even are not.

00:38:06.210 --> 00:38:19.680 Albert Dabah: Just when you're grieving I mean it seems like some of the things you're saying are just you know everyday behavior can be like you know when are you stepping on someone's toes how to say no to someone without hurting their feelings.

00:38:21.120 --> 00:38:29.280 Albert Dabah: You know, like in a relationship, for instance yeah you know learning to be in relationship with someone and understanding them what.

00:38:30.210 --> 00:38:36.930 Albert Dabah: Their needs are and your own needs, and you know that they're they're being upset about something you say.

00:38:37.560 --> 00:38:47.850 Albert Dabah: could take you totally by surprise because you don't know how sensitive, they are to what the subject is of whatever you're talking about yeah much greater to them than it is to you.

00:38:50.820 --> 00:39:10.320 Albert Dabah: and, especially, you know male female differences that come up, and you know, whatever they could be, but I think you know, like what made me think just now when you said about boundaries and kind of like knowing what to say, at times, it makes me think about i've.

00:39:11.940 --> 00:39:15.480 Albert Dabah: grown up in a very small knit community of Syria in Jewish community and brooklyn.

00:39:15.750 --> 00:39:16.170 man.

00:39:17.190 --> 00:39:30.510 Albert Dabah: When you get to know a lot of people and have a lot of relatives there's a lot of will that pass on and sitting Shivers a whole custom and you go to the House and really from place to place you don't know what to expect.

00:39:31.620 --> 00:39:37.290 Albert Dabah: Though to someone who's grieving, but when you get to that house and it could be a lot of people there are not many.

00:39:37.590 --> 00:39:50.190 Albert Dabah: But it's very open and friendly and sweet and people sometimes they're laughing and all that, because sometimes you're talking about you know, the way that person was in the good times that they had it all depends on.

00:39:51.540 --> 00:39:59.640 Albert Dabah: That particular family that you know how that person passed away was a sudden death, which is sometimes obviously you know.

00:40:00.480 --> 00:40:14.370 Albert Dabah: much sadder than someone but it's still sad, but you have to just like you said you have to gear the room gear gear who you're talking to to you know figure it out yeah.

00:40:15.480 --> 00:40:18.600 Albert Dabah: Like I recently went to my my best friend's.

00:40:20.010 --> 00:40:30.630 Albert Dabah: house he that they were sitting Shiva and his father was one day away from being 101 years old, so he lived a really good life and a long life and.

00:40:31.200 --> 00:40:41.250 Albert Dabah: Most people don't live that long and it was a really sweet time to be there to just you know I knew his father, he was a funny guy he always made fun of everybody and.

00:40:41.760 --> 00:40:46.380 Albert Dabah: That was what a lot of the conversation was and he was a giving guy so i'm.

00:40:47.010 --> 00:40:59.280 Albert Dabah: A lot depends on the situation, who that person was but it sounds to me like you've really put to put this book together and it'll the sections of trauma and you know questions that.

00:40:59.790 --> 00:41:06.600 Albert Dabah: come up later what to do, maybe talk a little bit more about that that you know some of the sections that you have like.

00:41:07.620 --> 00:41:12.060 Albert Dabah: I think you say you know what what to do afterwards, what were some of the crack in.

00:41:12.660 --> 00:41:16.350 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): The table of contents is is divided into three parts.

00:41:18.060 --> 00:41:23.670 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Life before death life after death and then I think no life before death after death.

00:41:24.690 --> 00:41:35.280 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And then part three, is the future, and so in life before death, we have identifying your needs setting up your grief support special requests, how to even ask for help.

00:41:36.150 --> 00:41:54.510 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): dating standards when you're when you're grieving building an after death checklist and understanding trauma and this was really just like wandering through I was just thinking about what I thought I needed and what I was googling when my dad was dying and the like, I really wanted.

00:41:55.920 --> 00:42:03.240 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): To explain carefully, like my symptoms of grief, because my symptoms were so weird and I was also traumatized by witnessing the deaths and.

00:42:03.660 --> 00:42:11.460 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I had all these things going through me and then I asked other people what was happening to their bodies and their this was something I couldn't figure out on like.

00:42:13.020 --> 00:42:18.390 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): you write a book when it can't be googled right like the thing you can't get the Google answer to so I kept googling.

00:42:18.810 --> 00:42:25.290 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like what do I do you know why does my stomach hurt all the time, like, why is it normal that I don't want to get out of bed at all and.

00:42:25.500 --> 00:42:35.310 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): You know, we could I could use web md and be like Okay, you have pink right, you know pancreatitis and you, you have like chronic fatigue and you're depressed but really I was grieving and.

00:42:35.640 --> 00:42:39.810 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): What I was starting to learn like it would have been helpful if someone listed the symptoms for me.

00:42:40.200 --> 00:42:47.730 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And I had a grief counselor who I just called her as I get all these weird body problems are happening all of a sudden, they didn't have a month ago.

00:42:48.090 --> 00:42:56.880 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): So they get the when the feelings you've got are stuck inside of you and they're showing up and I wanted a book that would just make all that plane for someone else.

00:42:57.360 --> 00:43:09.120 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): So, part two life after death setting new boundaries relationships after loss, how to get a grief group and grief counselors and then how to pray and what what is prayer and why does it matter.

00:43:09.870 --> 00:43:13.890 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): How to stabilize your nervous system, this this is looking at like hurricanes and.

00:43:14.550 --> 00:43:23.760 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Racism and griefs that like compound one after the other, like What do you do if you're having a panic attack and you need to calm it down and you can't get to 911 fast enough.

00:43:24.180 --> 00:43:30.270 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And then also looking at anniversaries death of bursaries going to the grave how to build a ritual.

00:43:30.930 --> 00:43:40.950 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): What will you do each year or each memory, I mean and what's the power of a ritual, why is it useful, and I also look a lot at Jewish like starting the second half of the book.

00:43:41.250 --> 00:43:45.480 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I look a lot at my own like sort of the inheritance of Jewish morning rituals.

00:43:45.930 --> 00:43:56.250 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And how to deal with that how to deal with wanting to honor them and then also I couldn't like I didn't write about this in the book but coven hit while my dad well, I was morning and my dad died.

00:43:56.790 --> 00:44:04.200 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Three months before coven and I couldn't go to college and for those that don't know Scottish it's like a daily prayer for the dead that I know.

00:44:04.740 --> 00:44:10.140 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): My father wanted me to do and I there wasn't there eight but first there wasn't a daily minion.

00:44:10.680 --> 00:44:18.420 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Which is like a 10 person prayer group for the first three months I just couldn't find one here in New Orleans that was that was my speed, there was orthodox ones.

00:44:18.900 --> 00:44:25.740 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And then, after that there wasn't daily anything like I couldn't honor my Jewish rituals, and so part of what I wanted.

00:44:26.010 --> 00:44:36.480 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Without I really intentionally have not mentioned coven wants throughout the book and I want death to be about death universal throughout the ages for this book, but I.

00:44:37.230 --> 00:44:44.790 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I do know that, during my morning rituals we couldn't meet in person, and so, because I couldn't have group gatherings.

00:44:45.270 --> 00:44:54.720 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): We started to innovate and I had to figure out like, how do you give yourself permission to break your religious order in order to honor your religion it's like a crazy sentence, but.

00:44:55.020 --> 00:44:58.680 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): What do you do if you want to say cottage and there's no minion What do you do if you want to.

00:44:59.130 --> 00:45:08.010 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): You know, like can you fake it is it allowed or is gone i'm going to love you and I wanted to empower people in those chapters to do it yourself and to feel.

00:45:08.370 --> 00:45:18.420 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like agency to even if you're not a rabbi to be the Rabbi of your own life and to like take into account that this is your grief, this is your loss and there's ways to do it.

00:45:18.840 --> 00:45:32.520 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And then I end with how to be the grief support and and just like some ideas about that and um yeah I mean I, if I can read to you a little bit from the introduction if that's useful to just like set the frame for the book.

00:45:32.760 --> 00:45:36.480 Albert Dabah: yeah that would be great let's we're gonna take another break.

00:45:36.780 --> 00:45:37.320 grant.

00:45:38.370 --> 00:45:47.730 Albert Dabah: we'll come back and we're still read a little bit more from the book, but I think what you have, there is a really great guy because what you're saying is is just you know it's like.

00:45:49.020 --> 00:45:55.560 Albert Dabah: You know, like What do you do if you're you know being Jewish and if you need a minion 10 people and you don't have it, what do you do.

00:45:56.760 --> 00:46:05.760 Albert Dabah: And I think a lot of, that is, for me, sometimes you do, I would say, for me, I would do what I feel I could do.

00:46:07.110 --> 00:46:17.790 Albert Dabah: That would satisfy me, because I think in basically you want to honor your let's say your father, in this case, but you know it's also honoring yourself, I think.

00:46:17.940 --> 00:46:18.360 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): yeah.

00:46:19.260 --> 00:46:22.500 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): it's confusing when you've been taught that like there's one way.

00:46:22.800 --> 00:46:36.450 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): yeah so there, I was trying to empower people to like dissect the impact of cottage dissect the ways in which that works and and reinvent it for yourself, when you need to because we do need to right now reinvent everything yeah.

00:46:36.840 --> 00:46:43.020 Albert Dabah: All right, we'll be right back with marissa talking about her book forget prayers and bring cake, thank you.

00:48:43.860 --> 00:48:53.670 Albert Dabah: hi we're back with marissa and we've been talking about her book forget prayers bring cake, and so we were talking about the rituals.

00:48:54.690 --> 00:48:56.790 Albert Dabah: So tell tell us some more about.

00:48:57.690 --> 00:49:06.270 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Sure yeah so we were talking about I mean I guess what I wanted to read a little bit about just from the introduction, because I think the question I had.

00:49:06.720 --> 00:49:15.390 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Also sort of a theme in our talk today has been religious boundaries and one of the things that you were mentioning was like this sort of.

00:49:15.780 --> 00:49:24.000 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): niche Community you came from it was practicing Shiva and every community has its own rituals, I mean that's what's really mind boggling and.

00:49:24.300 --> 00:49:29.310 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Also, not like I had an issue many years ago, where a dear friend lost.

00:49:29.730 --> 00:49:36.870 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): A family member and there's from a different background, but everything she wanted me to participate in went directly against what I was taught.

00:49:37.110 --> 00:49:47.850 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): To and I had to figure out so when do I use her communal boundaries and when do I use my communal boundaries and like when do I, what does it look like to honor the dead, for her versus for me.

00:49:48.150 --> 00:49:57.900 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And I had to draw my own limits for myself, but also let some of them go to support her, so this is just from the introduction to the book, it says, we need to wail.

00:49:58.350 --> 00:50:06.690 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): We need to scream and if we can't, we need to find some way to siphon out the pain, because grief is everywhere.

00:50:07.140 --> 00:50:15.240 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): It is in our coffee port by those who have suffered recent losses, it is on the news and then the subtext of our friends instagram feeds.

00:50:15.750 --> 00:50:32.010 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): grief is ever present a sexuality and it to requires a release an orgasm for morning a pouring out of that which is contained in the body ignored and not attended to, we are, as a culture chronically grief ridden.

00:50:32.730 --> 00:50:39.480 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): The question is how to grieve how to feel how to mourn without blasting to smithereens.

00:50:39.960 --> 00:50:48.630 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Most of us don't have a script that allows us to release our grief, like the one my friend was taught in an anecdote that starts the book.

00:50:49.080 --> 00:50:59.670 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And even if we do, we often cannot honor it within new cultural mill us living within systems of social codes that preclude us from our origin practices.

00:51:00.210 --> 00:51:18.900 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): So many of us were never taught how to grieve who to speak to what to do, or when to quit sure the Bible says to sow in tears and reaping gladness but whose priest or guru or rabbi sat them down and slowly explained what grief, is why it must be honored and how to grieve not mine.

00:51:20.190 --> 00:51:26.280 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): This book and just fast forwarding because I don't want to read all of it, but I want to get you the stuff that matters with this conversation.

00:51:26.610 --> 00:51:37.890 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): This book posits the idea that grief is not to be recovered from but rather prepared for it it's not predictable and linear stages, but rather a wild storm to ride out.

00:51:38.280 --> 00:51:46.380 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): to learn to navigate individually before the next, and the next grief arrives grief is a fact of life and I.

00:51:47.190 --> 00:51:54.900 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But the you know I had this question of it says up here with no model no clear set of instructions of how to move to the treasuries of loss.

00:51:55.230 --> 00:51:57.810 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I had questions, what does it mean to mourn properly.

00:51:58.170 --> 00:52:11.190 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): How much grief is too much grief, what if you call your friends and they can't be there, what is allowed and who decides what is allowed if we are not all following one set of rules, what is appropriate.

00:52:11.490 --> 00:52:22.530 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Is there a wrong way to grieve, and so I was just asking these questions, and what I wanted was for people to have ways in which that they could honor themselves, no matter what's coming.

00:52:23.010 --> 00:52:30.000 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like I realized and i'm still you know we all watching my parents, you know get into their mid and late 70s.

00:52:30.960 --> 00:52:35.490 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): It was like as often as I went to weddings in my 20s they were going to funerals.

00:52:35.910 --> 00:52:46.950 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And it was like that much that much death and I, and I realized like we should be less afraid of this thing that we have to deal with, and the only way to be less afraid, is to be more prepared.

00:52:47.520 --> 00:52:59.610 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like we need more tools ready to go, so that when when the death does come we you know we will always be hurt by it, but we will be able to navigate that that storm a little bit better.

00:53:00.630 --> 00:53:04.200 Albert Dabah: yeah yeah no, it makes a lot of sense because there's.

00:53:05.820 --> 00:53:10.950 Albert Dabah: You know they're like this is a really good handbook I feel.

00:53:12.660 --> 00:53:14.880 Albert Dabah: I mean the word handbook may sound like.

00:53:15.900 --> 00:53:19.470 Albert Dabah: But it really is like it's a good handbook on how to deal with.

00:53:21.330 --> 00:53:23.940 Albert Dabah: With grief and trauma and loss and.

00:53:25.410 --> 00:53:40.470 Albert Dabah: And how to take rituals, and I think it's, how do you take a ritual and make it your own ritual like you can't be really sincere if you're.

00:53:42.120 --> 00:53:46.290 Albert Dabah: not really believing in the ritual that you're following.

00:53:46.650 --> 00:53:53.250 Albert Dabah: Great might not agree with it, or just doesn't feel right for you like and it's like.

00:53:54.600 --> 00:54:00.660 Albert Dabah: You know, really being yourself and and then again, you know, at times, we don't know.

00:54:01.350 --> 00:54:14.400 Albert Dabah: How we're going to react in certain situations because it's a new situation for us yeah, though, when the situation arrives again maybe or something similar, we have that experience on how to deal with it.

00:54:16.290 --> 00:54:16.920 Albert Dabah: and

00:54:18.240 --> 00:54:20.460 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Also, how to find personal power, I think that.

00:54:21.060 --> 00:54:32.730 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): You were saying, like a lot of people in religious contexts do just go along with the motions and do feel dead inside and don't necessarily believe in diddly and for some that's really comforting.

00:54:33.090 --> 00:54:39.780 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But I think the times that we are currently in you know we've all the world has always been broken, but we are.

00:54:40.230 --> 00:54:56.310 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): In this country, in particular where suddenly realizing that all the comfort, we thought was eternal as many of us many, many of people listening have always been uncomfortable but many people who have built like the illusion of of ease and not being harmed by the world's ailments.

00:54:57.540 --> 00:55:04.680 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Now is really the time to start to take agency into one's hands and say Okay, what can I do to make this moment profound.

00:55:05.130 --> 00:55:08.940 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): What can I do to make this moment sacred and I think when you feel out of control.

00:55:09.360 --> 00:55:13.980 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): which meant we all do right now I don't think there's a single person who feels totally in control right now.

00:55:14.370 --> 00:55:22.140 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): I mean I, at least where I live, we're all in this very confused existential crisis where we just had a very clear vision of what it will look like.

00:55:22.680 --> 00:55:27.720 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): When we have to get out of here and we might not be able to come back like we had to leave for two weeks New Orleans was.

00:55:28.500 --> 00:55:37.830 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): In a two week coma, for you know, there was no 911 for part of that time there was no streetlights there was no trash pickup there were no restaurants.

00:55:38.100 --> 00:55:48.240 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): There was the electricity tower fallen into the Mississippi river so when you come back from that like we all have a choice, right now, like we all wander around like rattled nervous racks and like we.

00:55:48.690 --> 00:55:52.770 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): that's it where we take some power to make our own meaning.

00:55:53.220 --> 00:56:03.030 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And the day to day and that sounds so cheesy but it's not really like sure I was taught to go to college and I always think of a scene and curb your enthusiasm when they're walking the lower East side.

00:56:03.600 --> 00:56:11.850 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And the baseball player is like called in, and you know there's all kinds of like traditional ways of honoring the dead, but right now.

00:56:12.210 --> 00:56:17.280 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): We get to make you need to invent the wheel, you get to go do a dance in the street if that's what you need to do.

00:56:17.940 --> 00:56:27.870 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): which is what we do down here in New Orleans but, if in brooklyn or in like the middle of the middle of midtown you want to go on to your dad and some new way like, why not come alive.

00:56:28.230 --> 00:56:36.480 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): In this moment where we're all struggling with finding a way to reinvent what it means to be human when the world around us is shifting so rapidly and I.

00:56:37.560 --> 00:56:43.950 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): mean it's just so important The other thing is like the book is forget prayers bring cake, a single woman's guide to grieving.

00:56:44.220 --> 00:56:50.580 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And the reason it's not just forget prayers bring cake, like the title was invented in DC when I was at home and mad that.

00:56:51.450 --> 00:56:57.210 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like two cakes are brought to my my sister and my father, no one brought me a cake, and I was like come on.

00:56:57.930 --> 00:57:03.750 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): But now that i'm in New Orleans like cake is really integral to this place and King cake.

00:57:04.350 --> 00:57:14.310 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): If you don't know what King cake is it's like a mardi gras tradition, and there are just so many here and the book ends with me sort of doing like a almost like a litany of King gates and.

00:57:14.880 --> 00:57:19.080 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): cake i've learned since living in New Orleans its historic here like it's not.

00:57:19.350 --> 00:57:32.220 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): it's not just King cake it's still bears cake it's like there's an apple cake that there's like the ancient Jewish communities here had and like cake is a big deal but cake also represents like coming together for birth and like.

00:57:32.520 --> 00:57:39.180 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): coming together for joy and coming together for life, and I think part of what I was saying was hey don't get.

00:57:39.690 --> 00:57:46.560 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Like don't forget, even though you've just gone through the death of someone the you are here there's like people here there's like.

00:57:47.070 --> 00:57:52.800 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): don't give you know there's so much to be done, and so many people to love right now and doesn't have to be romantic like.

00:57:53.340 --> 00:58:01.530 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): give some people some cake like I yesterday went to there's a woman in New Orleans who has an incredible bakery called by you, St Kate she's in.

00:58:01.980 --> 00:58:10.050 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): A lot of people during the pandemic in New Orleans it's very weird like she went to a restaurant and eight outside they would never have bred here.

00:58:10.530 --> 00:58:17.850 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And it's not because of gluten it's because no one was baking in the restaurants anymore, they made their own autonomous bakeries.

00:58:18.180 --> 00:58:27.720 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And I you saying cake is one of these incredible local artisans and she yesterday was selling cake at the farmers market which she doesn't she was trying something new.

00:58:28.080 --> 00:58:34.680 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And she made a huge sheet cake and she cut it in slices I will tell you it was a religious experience just eating her carrot cake.

00:58:34.980 --> 00:58:40.410 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): And I got that cake and I bought five slices and i've been distributing it to people across the city.

00:58:40.830 --> 00:58:57.900 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Everyone is sad right now, like they just everyone is sad everyone's roof fell in or everyone went through a divorce or everyone hasn't relative with Twitter they're scared of covert or somebody in their neighborhood died of it and every car giving someone cake is really nice really.

00:58:58.230 --> 00:58:58.590 So.

00:58:59.640 --> 00:59:06.870 Albert Dabah: I love what you have to say we're gonna have to stop because you're such a passionate person and I love talking with you.

00:59:07.140 --> 00:59:09.090 Albert Dabah: And you're getting me hungry.

00:59:10.470 --> 00:59:15.450 Albert Dabah: But I get what you're saying I think it's really important so everyone.

00:59:17.550 --> 00:59:20.430 Albert Dabah: Just tell us how people can get the book real quickly.

00:59:21.090 --> 00:59:32.550 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): or i'm you can get it anywhere, you can get it online on Amazon if that's your speed, you can get at your local bookstore it's available across the board, you can get it a target, you can get anywhere.

00:59:32.880 --> 00:59:34.530 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Okay, just go get it.

00:59:34.800 --> 00:59:44.250 Albert Dabah: All right, go get the book forget prayers bring cake by marissa gerson and when you have a chance watch extra innings you can watch it on sin Simba.

00:59:45.030 --> 00:59:57.000 Albert Dabah: movies COM, or you can go on Amazon and it's on the seven other platforms, right now, good night we're so thank you so much for being on the show, and everyone have a good evening, thank you.

00:59:57.420 --> 00:59:58.470 Merissa Nathan Gerson (She/Her): Thank you.

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