Holding the Net

In this poignant and timely memoir, Melanie Merriman and her sister struggle (each in their own way) to care for their aging and fiercely independent mother. Melanie, a hospice consultant who has studied aging, illness, and the intricacies of the healthcare system, finds the real-life experience of caring for her mother humbling. Written for those who have cared for a parent, those who face that challenge, and those who are aging parents themselves, Holding the Net offers practical details about the effects of aging on body and mind, living arrangements for older people, making healthcare decisions, and navigating a stay in a nursing/rehab facility.

What people are saying about Holding the Net

“…a wake-up call and a gentle guide through the daily, weekly, monthly,  yearly journey of helping the people  we love through the difficult process of aging to a soft landing.”  Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer prize-winning columnist, founder of The Conversation Project

“This is not the story of just one mother and her daughters. It is all of our stories—ones already lived, or ones midstream, or ones about to happen. Read Melanie Merriman’s words for validation, for forgiveness, for guidance, for hope.”
—from the Foreword by Ann Hood, author of The Book That Matters Most

“A moving, matter-of-fact, deeply eye-opening look at what most of us will eventually face: guiding our parents through old age.”
Cathi Hanauer, NY Times best-selling novelist and editor of The Bitch in the House and The Bitch is Back

Holding the Net is an engrossing, tenderly told story of a daughter’s loving care for her mother. Beyond just a good read, these pages hold pearls of practical wisdom that are gifts to any reader who happens to be a parent who is growing older or the child of one.”
Dr. Ira Byock, palliative care physician, Chief Medical Officer of the Providence Institute for Human Caring, and author of The Four Things That Matter Most  and The Best Care Possible

“Holding the Net provides both much-needed comfort and a practical guide to anyone faced with the many challenges of caring for an aging parent. Melanie Merriman lays out her own journey through the last years of her mother’s life in a no-nonsense but affecting fashion that reminds us of both the bounty of fully lived lives and the sacrifices that love requires. Readers will be touched, reassured, guided, and, most importantly, uplifted.”
Les Standiford, author of Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct & the Rise of Los Angeles

“As a hospice consultant, Merriman thought she’d be ready when her own mother reached her later years. But as her mother declines, the author realizes that objectivity is impossible. She tries to keep the balance between her mother’s independence and her safety, but when her mother begins routinely to fall, Merriman and her sister have to make life-changing decisions. The author shares their agonies (selling the family home) as well as their successes (their mother’s active social life, caregivers who enjoy her personality). Merriman expresses much guilt about living miles away and worries about the demands placed on her sister, who lives nearby the home in which their mother resides. Merriman is conversational and painfully honest about the worry, tears, and second-guessing. She offers lessons learned, including acting too soon rather than too late, stepping in to make decisions for a parent, and acknowledging that you can only do what you think is best at the time. Anyone who has ever cared for an aging parent will sympathize with Merriman’s trials and be comforted by her heartfelt story.” — Candace Smith, Booklist

About the Author

Melanie P. Merriman, PhD has spent much of her life as a research scientist, hospice consultant, and foundation grant evaluator—driven by a passion to illuminate, understand, and find meaning. Now she writes with the same purpose. Holding the Net is her debut as a solo author. She is also the co-author of Merriman’s Hawai‘i: The Chef, the Farmers, the Food, the Islands, a cookbook with stories about chef Peter Merriman. Melanie and her husband Klein split their time between South Florida and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

HTN in the News
Holding the Net was chosen for presentation at The Miami Book Fair!  

  • AWARD WINNER!! Holding the Net has been named the 2017 AWARD WINNER in the Autobiography/Memoir category of American Book Fest’s Best Book Awards!
  • Reed Pence at Radio Heath Journal featured Melanie Merriman and Holding the Net in his story on Navigating the Aging Process. Dr. Merriman discusses aging parents and the challenge of balancing the desire for independence against the need for safety.
  • Julie Patterson and Mary Pat McKee interviewed Melanie Merriman about Holding the Net for Episode 92 of IndyBOOMER Radio. Click on the The Freebird Club logo to hear Melanie Merriman discuss the challenges she faced in caring for her aging parent.

AND – These articles/essays which the author wrote were published:

Brazen Woman featured Melanie Merriman’s essay, Me and Mom: How It Really Feels to Watch Your Parent Age.

GUIDEPOSTS posted and excerpt of Holding the Net.

ThirdAge.com featured Melanie Merriman’s article on caring for a fiercely independent and aging parent: Helping Aging Loved Ones Who Resist Care.


Publication Date: November 1, 2017
Category: Nonfiction, memoir, caregiving
ISBN:  9978-0998701226   Price: 19.95
Format: Trade Paperback    Page Count:  248
Available from:  Midpoint, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Parson Weems
First Print Run: 2,000

The author is represented by BookSavvy
Marketing: National Media Campaign, blog tour, events in the Northeast and Florida. Review copies available upon request.

Available wherever books are sold & via Midpoint Trade.