Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

A 2012 Plan for Grieving Your Friends

Jan 04, 2012 by Victoria Noe, in Friendship , Grief , grieving styles
9/11 Remembrance ribbons on
 the fence at St. Paul's Chapel
New Year
Clean Slate
Clear the Decks
If only…

I’m not suggesting ignoring your grief.
I’m not suggesting pretending you didn’t lose a friend.
What I am suggesting is finding a way to channel that grief, finding a way to create something new and positive.
One of the feelings most often felt when a friend dies is that we want to be sure they’re not forgotten.
So maybe we visit the cemetery, or post on their memorial Facebook page.
But how about taking that a step further? How about actively doing something to remember them?
Carol Demitz was a classmate of mine. We didn’t travel in the same circles, but we had classes together in our small Catholic girls high school in St. Louis.
After she died on 9/11, our class made a donation to our school in her name, underwriting new lighting in the hallways.

But every year on the anniversary, when the names of the victims were read at the Ground Zero ceremony, her name was mispronounced (the accent’s on the first syllable, short vowels). I’m a stickler on pronouncing names correctly and it bothered me. When I stood there on the 9th anniversary, and heard it mispronounced yet again, I made a promise to myself that it wouldn’t happen the following year.
Last May I started in earnest to find out how to correct that. I spoke to several people, finally talking to a woman in Mayor Bloomberg’s office just after Labor Day. She wrote down Carol’s last name phonetically, but could make no promises that the person reading would get it right. I figured at least I’d gone on record, and maybe that was the best I could do.
So on the morning of the 10th anniversary, standing in the warm sun across from Zuccoti Park, I listened to the names being read again. This time Carol’s name was pronounced correctly, and I nearly burst out laughing. Then I wanted to cry.
It wasn’t something that was important to most people. Even other girls from my class said “we know what’s right; that’s all that matters”. But for some stupid reason, it was as important to me as collecting remembrances for the digital archive. She would be remembered. And named correctly.
We’re going to consider a few ideas in the coming weeks, looking at ways people found to keep their friend’s memory alive.
Some are activities, some are financial, and some are life-changing decisions.
You might have your own ideas, or these posts may trigger your imagination.
And if you’ve done something - big or small, temporary or permanent - to preserve the memory of the friend who meant so much to you, feel free to share it.