Before completing college, Mary Mac had experienced the death of four friends – two teenagers to drunk drivers, two college students to inoperable cancer. Later she would sustain many other deaths of family members and close friends including the murder of her former husband’s 11 year-old daughter, which took them on an 18 year journey to help solve the crime. It was these life experiences that led her to become involved in the field of bereavement.
Mary is an award-winning author, speaker, private bereavement/grief coach, nationally-known crime victims’ rights advocate, and President of the Foundation for Grieving Children, Inc. She trained Assistant District Attorneys and Homicide Detectives on how to better communicate with crime victims and served as their liaison with families of homicide victims, often joining them at murder trials. She served as Founding Treasurer for the political action committee, Justice for All, and helped shape numerous pieces of legislation in New York to favor crime victims.
She developed and edited the award-winning National Directory of Bereavement Support Groups and Services, Understanding Your Grieving Heart After a Loved One’s Death, Homicide: Understanding the Unique and Complex Challenges Survivors Face, and other works in this field. She uses her expertise to assist the bereaved through her AskMaryMac.com website where her bereavement articles, blog and forums help hurting people better understand their journey.
While there are many organizations whose mission is to help dying children, such as hospice, Ronald McDonald House and St. Jude, or 9/11/01 children, Mary birthed the Foundation for Grieving Children as a response to the very real need to assist children regardless of how their family members had died. The seed for the foundation was planted in her spirit in the late 1980s when she could find limited assistance for siblings and children of those who had been murdered.
The Foundation for Grieving Children, Inc. is the first national public charity whose mission is to raise funds and provide grants to community-based organizations which assist, educate, counsel and comfort grieving children, teens, young adults and their families after the death of a loved one through any circumstances.
She was honored by the New York State Senate Legislative Resolution for her work with Survivors of Homicide Victims, was profiled in the New York Daily News, and featured in newspaper articles in the New York Daily News, Newsday, and the Orlando Sentinel. She has also been quoted in O (Oprah’s) Magazine, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and others. She has written articles and blogs for numerous sites on the web and print magazines. She has also appeared on radio and television shows including CBS’s Up to the Minute, News 12 Long Island, Ask the Doctor (NYU Medical Center Radio), To Your Good Health Radio, The Michael Dresser Show and many others.
She has presented workshops at numerous Parents of Murdered Children national conferences, the World Gathering of Bereavement, and grieving children conferences. She also served as press spokesperson for POMC conferences where she would write and distribute press releases and was interviewed by local news, radio and print media.
In 2009, she received the “Healing Hands” award from A Caring Hand, New York City’s only center for grieving children, for her tireless efforts in helping grieving children, and the University of Scranton’s “Frank O’Hara” award, the highest recognition given to distinguished alumni.
In 2013 her dream of creating a children’s book became reality with the publishing of Iggy The Train Cat, a story she wrote a decade earlier. With the help of a wonderful illustrator, Iggy was born. Partial proceeds from this and all her books helps support the Foundation for Grieving Children.
It is her passion to address the unmet needs of grieving children, teens and young adults which birthed the creation of the foundation and to help bereaved adults better understand their grieving process, heal and revitalize their lives after a loved one’s death through AskMaryMac, her products and services.