Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

“Did I Live My Life Differently Because of Her?”
You know how it is: something happens to you and you think you’re the first person in the history of mankind to have experienced it. If you’re a Baby Boomer, you probably have that opinion about every single thing that’s ever happened to you.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that my friend, Delle Chatman, is the reason I’m now a writer. As I’ve interviewed people for my books, I’ve met others whose lives changed because of one particular friend who died.

But now and then I forget that, and need to be reminded.

Pam Sherman is a writer and speaker. Her articles appear in the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, as well as on her website Suburban Outlaw.

Recently, she reflected about her friend, Randi, whose sudden death still affects her thirteen years later.

She recounts the ways Randi’s friends rallied around the widower and small children, even as they attended to their own busy lives. Sometimes they would sit at Starbucks and cry:

“We would get together just to be together and deal with our own grief. Friends’ grief. We weren’t at the epicenter of grief like her family. But loss has a seismic effect, and we were definitely feeling the aftershocks.”

But Randi wasn’t one to just sit, so her friends decided to get busy. A Christmas in July party for kids with cancer at Georgetown University Hospital turned into a series of fundraisers that eventually raised more than $100,000 for a room for teenagers at Children’s National Medical Center.

That’s a great tribute from loving friends. But the better tribute, I believe, is in Sherman’s question to herself: “Did I live my life differently because of her?”

Like me, she might never have been a writer. She believes that she is a better wife and mother for appreciating how precious our time on earth can be.


How about you? Did the death of your friend not just affect you short-term, but long-term? Are you a different person because of them?