Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

Friend Grief and…Valentine’s Day?

Good. I got your attention.

Valentine’s Day is certainly not a day we associate with friends. It’s one designed to guilt-trip us into spending lots of money on flowers, candy, dinner, lingerie, etc. to share with a romantic partner. Friends? Not so much.

I remember when I was younger, that I hated the time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. The holidays were all about families, and I was single. The last holiday was the worst, because the expectations were so ridiculously unrealistic.

So let’s ignore all the hype and guilt and consider our friends.

I don’t know about you, but I found 2014 to be an unusually challenging year. So did a lot of my friends. Relationships, finances, health, or a combination of things brought many of them to the brink of despair. I couldn’t begin to count the phone calls, online chats, texts and emails shared about serious crises. Even watching the “In Memoriam” slide shows at the end of the year depressed me, seeing the loss of famous people I admired.

Last year I lost two friends, and I miss them both. Another friend had successful cancer surgery. And yes, I get that some of this is because, as my husband is fond of saying, “we’re at that age”. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

“We can’t keep putting this off any longer.”

I’ve heard that line a lot lately. In fact, in the last couple of weeks I’ve had a surprising number of conversations with friends – on Facebook, Twitter, email, and phone calls – about getting together. These are friends who are spread across the country; the shortest distance apart is about 400 miles. The shortest time I’ve been apart from one of them is almost three years ago; the longest separation is since the early 80s. And though no one has used the words, the motivation is “I don’t want to wait for a funeral”.

Tonight I’m taking out my calendar and penciling in a few dates. One will be the end of March, another sometime in the summer. My high school reunion is already set for June. The remaining one needs to be set soon, too.

I couldn’t have gotten through my challenges in 2014 without my friends, and I suspect you feel the same way.

So, how about this: make a date with your friends for Valentine’s Day.

Call them up, email them, text them. Share a picture of the two of you on Facebook or Tumblr or Instagram to get the conversation going. And make a date to get together.

No, it doesn’t actually have to be on Valentine’s Day. People are busy and sometimes it takes a while to come up with a time you’re both free.

But do it. No excuses. Tell them you miss them. Celebrate your friendship, which is – whether you admit it or not – based in love.

Valentine’s Day is about love. Show a little to your friends.