Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist



Josephine Stewart

Inspired by a Friend's Death

Inspired by a Friend's Death
Aug 16, 2017 by Victoria Noe
It’s a great feature, isn’t it, when Facebook reminds you of a friend’s birthday? We all get caught up in our daily lives and sometimes we forget, so I’m all for anything that helps.  It didn’t feel so great last week, though, when it reminded me of Jo Stewart’s birthday. Jo died last year. Jo was the leader of my first writing group: poet, creative writing professor, force of nature. The group grew out of a life-story writing class because we got along and didn’t want to stop meeting. It lasted six years, until Penny died. The rest of us didn’t feel like meeting without her. The last time I saw Jo, at a holiday lunch for the second group she...

Giving a Eulogy for a Friend

Giving a Eulogy for a Friend
Jan 19, 2016 by Victoria Noe
In the final book in my series – Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes – you’ll meet a man who gave the eulogy for his best friend. Neither man was old. In fact, both were 29. It wasn’t a task anyone expects to be given at that age.

I’m quite a bit older than that but it’s been a while since I spoke at a funeral or memorial service: almost eleven years. So I didn’t expect to be asked to speak at the memorial for my writing group leader, Jo Stewart. I’d already written about her here, a post that her daughter shared on Facebook. That was that, I thought. Then I got the email inviting me to speak. We agreed...

My Writing Teacher

My Writing Teacher
Jan 05, 2016 by Victoria Noe
My writing group - Jo on the left

I took this picture of my writing group a few years ago. I was the youngest in the group, by about two decades, though you couldn’t tell based on the energy during those meetings.

In the fall of 2006, I signed up for a Life Story Writing class at Swedish Covenant Hospital here in Chicago. My father had died the year before, and I wanted help preserving family stories. I didn’t consider myself a writer (still don’t on some days). A few months earlier I’d promised my friend Delle that I’d write a book about people grieving their friends, but I wasn’t convinced it would ever happen.

Almost everyone there was...