Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist




World AIDS Day 2017

World AIDS Day 2017
Nov 28, 2017 by Victoria Noe
On the first World AIDS Day, 1988, I was in London enjoying a performance of The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, with Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke reprising the BBC portrayals I watched on PBS. I was already starting to work in the AIDS community in Chicago: a little volunteering, an increasing amount of grant writing for new organizations that couldn’t afford to put a development person on staff. Gay men - famous and not - were disappearing, only to have their deaths attributed to ‘a long illness’. No one was fooled. We all knew what was going on.

Though it wasn’t why I went to London, I think I probably had some belief that I could get away from AIDS. As...

When a Coworker Dies

When a Coworker Dies
Aug 25, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Where do you work? In an office? A store? A theatre?

Every workplace has its own culture, its own personality. Some have open floor plans, others a hive of cubicles and offices with closed doors. Some have strict dress codes or time clocks to punch. Others thrive on creative chaos.

But every one of them faces the possibility of a crisis when an employee dies.

How people grieve is individual and personal, so it’s to be expected that there can be conflict when a group of people in a work environment have to deal with a coworker’s death. Every workplace seems to have a few specific personalities.

The Social Director: They organize theme lunches and after-work gatherings. They decorate the office for holidays and...

Spending Time with Friends After They Die

Spending Time with Friends After They Die
Aug 11, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Marquis de Lafayette, by Francesco-Guiseppe Casanova, New-York Historical Society

I've lost a couple friends who occasionally make their presence known. Pierre died last year, at the age of 89.

In late May, I was excited to be in New York for Book Expo America because it meant I could see the fabulous Hirschfeld Century exhibit on the life and work of Al Hirschfeld at the New-York Historical Society. N-YHS has become one of my favorite places to explore since I did some research there for Friend Grief in the Military: Band of Friends.

Pierre was obsessed with the life of the Marie Joseph Paul Ives Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, the boy general who, at 19, arrived from...

Inspirational Authors on Facebook

Inspirational Authors on Facebook
Jun 23, 2015 by Victoria Noe
A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a one-day Facebook event as an "inspirational author." I do not consider myself an inspirational author. I've been called that a couple times and cringed. My friend, Kathy Pooler, is one of the women included in this event. She really IS inspirational. Someone recently called me "indomitable", but inspirational?

I was in a mood, I guess, and decided to accept the opportunity/challenge. The Facebook event is scheduled for July 2 and will feature fifteen women from around the world, converging on Facebook in three-hour shifts from 5 am to 11 pm PDT. I'm in the 2-5pm PDT shift. Who else is joining me? "Inspirational" turns out to be an understatement. They are a wildly diverse, passionate and talented...

Dying Matters for Friends, Too

Dying Matters for Friends, Too
May 19, 2015 by Victoria Noe
The Dying Matters Coalition is a British organization that raises awareness about death, dying and bereavement. This week (May 18-24) is designated as Dying Matters Awareness Week. Their recently released survey proves that human beings are a fascinating, infuriating species: Although 32% of British adults think about dying and death at least once a week, 72% believe that people in Britain are uncomfortable discussing it. Only 35% say they have written a will; only 28% of those with a child under 18 have done so. 40% of parents with children under 18 have ever taken out life insurance. 7% have written down their preferences for future care, should they be unable to make decisions for themselves, despite the fact that 79% believe qualify of...

Friend Grief Partners with Military Outreach USA

May 12, 2015 by Victoria Noe
It gives me great pleasure to announce during Military Appreciation Month that I am partnering with a terrific organization, Military Outreach USA.

Military Outreach USA is a 501 (c) 3 not for profit which  exists to encourage, engage, educate and equip individuals, houses of worship and organizations throughout the nation to provide a supporting role to our military community. This community is comprised of our military (active duty, guard, and reserves), veterans, and their families who are impacted by the visible and invisible wounds of military service.  The support is provided through our national Military Caring Network. Our services are provided at no charge to any Military Caring House of Worship or Organization regardless of spiritual orientation, religious preference, race, or...

Writing Obituaries for Friends

May 06, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Chris Jones (Chicago Tribune)

There are people who are paid to write obituaries. I don’t mean the death notices that families write and funeral homes place in newspapers. I mean the obituaries that are considered news stories: about celebrities, politicians, etc.

One of the stories in my next book, Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle, looks at the Chicago theatre community. I moved to Chicago a year out of graduate school, to work in theater. It was the heyday of the Off-Loop Theatre movement. John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Dennis Farina, Bill Peterson and others were not yet famous. Steppenwolf Theatre did not send shows to Broadway, because they were operating out of church basement...

Top Ten List for Friend Grief in 2015

Top Ten List for Friend Grief in 2015
Jan 01, 2015 by Victoria Noe
The fireworks are over, the champagne is long gone. You woke up refreshed and ready to go…or not. But regardless, it’s a new year – 2015. And here at Friend Grief, it promises to be a very, very busy one. That’s why, instead of ending 2014 with a list of accomplishments (and there were many, thanks to all of you), I thought I’d start 2015 with a list of plans:Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle, the fifth book in the series, comes out in a few weeks.The second book in the series is updated each year with new statistics and resources: that means Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends will be re-released...

Grieving for Friends You Never Met

Grieving for Friends You Never Met
Dec 14, 2012 by Victoria Noe
Jessica Hill, API had a blog post ready for today, but it will have to wait until next week.I turned on my computer to see “Breaking News” screamed in big red letters across the screen: shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.At first, I didn’t realize the magnitude of the story: was it a domestic dispute? An angry student? A disgruntled former employee?But then I read a little more, and the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut revealed itself to be more horrible than anyone could have anticipated.I can’t watch the news about this on TV. I check on Facebook and Twitter, and now and then on news websites, but that’s the extent of what I’m capable of doing right now.My daughter in...

Friend Grief and Death Cafe - Guest Post from Kristie West

Friend Grief and Death Cafe - Guest Post from Kristie West
Jul 27, 2012 by Victoria Noe
Kristie WestI’m thrilled to welcome Kristie West to Friend Grief. I met Kristie on Twitter last year, and though she’s in London and I’m in Chicago, we’ve struck a great friendship. She agreed to share her experience with Death Café and how it relates to grieving the death of a friend:I know Viki has her Death Café coming up soon…which is very exciting!….so when she asked me to guest blog I decided to talk about the relevance of a Death Café to friend grief and the impact one could have on the other.One of the hardest bits around grief can be the experience of feeling that people aren’t there for you.  This can be more severe when the person that...

What I Learned about Myself from Delle Chatman

What I Learned about Myself from Delle Chatman
Nov 07, 2011 by Victoria Noe
 Delle Chatman Five years ago today was election night. I’d talked to Delle’s brother Gregory earlier: “I’m writing my sister’s obituary,” he said quietly. I turned off my computer about 7:00, to watch the election results: just about the time that my friend, Delle, left us.I was sorting through the research for my book when I came upon a folder simply marked Delle. Inside were a variety of things: the tribute DVD created by “30 Good Minutes”, the PBS program she appeared on; another of her play, The Answer; her obituary from the Chicago Tribune. Stuck inside, though, was a piece of paper I’d forgotten about for five years that brought more than one tear to my eyes.I had...

“Finding Hope in the Midst of Grief”~Guest Post by Victoria Noe | Memoir Writer's Journey

Oct 11, 2011 by Victoria Noe
Today I was a guest on the lovely Kathleen Pooler's blog, "Memoir Writer's Journey". I hope you'll check out my post and her wonderful blog.“Finding Hope in the Midst of Grief”~Guest Post by Victoria Noe Memoir Writer's Journey