Warning: Grief Anniversary Ahead
Mar 09, 2021 by Victoria Noe
This time it wasn’t Facebook Memories that reminded me. It was my friend, Ken.
A year ago, the world was experiencing a devastating and profound change. Our way of life was about to be altered in ways no one could have predicted. A year ago today, I arrived in New York City for the beginning of a four-week East Coast trip. I had book signings scheduled in several cities. I had an advocacy conference to attend in Washington. I had lunch and dinner dates set with friends, along with book-related meetings to discuss future events.
When I left Chicago, I told my husband I wasn’t sure when I would be back. It depended on how serious all of this turned out to be. My trip lasted only six days. And though I ate indoors in NYC several times, when I got back I refused to eat inside a restaurant. In fact, I’ve only done that once in the past year. The anxiety I felt in that almost deserted restaurant wasn’t worth it.
I Am Not A Sandwich
Mar 07, 2018 by Victoria Noe
You see them at Nordstrom or neighborhood diners or in cafeterias: middle-aged women (occasionally men) and an older parent. The child is in charge without letting the parent know they’re in charge. They explain the menu to them, ask questions of the wait staff, smiling though the tension that’s alway there. Sometimes they help their parent walk, or cut their food. Their conversations are superficial: the food, the temperature in the room, the noise, maybe family news.
Occasionally their cell phone rings. They look down, annoyed, debating if they should answer, but when they do, it’s almost always work-related. You can see their bodies tense up more when they speak, juggling some new complication in their already jammed lives.
I’m one of...
Veterans in the War...Against AIDS
Sep 18, 2014 by Victoria Noe
Last night I attended an emotional event at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, in commemoration of National HIV and Aging Day (September 18). “We Aren’t Dead Yet! What Do We Do Now?” was billed as a community discussion, with an impressive panel of experts: Dr. Judith Rabkin, Columbia University Dept. of Psychiatry and Dr. Perry Halkitis, professor at NYU and author of The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience spoke along with two long-time HIV+ survivors, Jim Albaugh and Kevin Oree, and my friend Jim Eigo, long-time HIV- survivor and fellow ACT UP NY activist.The event was held in order to get feedback on the kinds of support and services needed by this often-forgotten, often-stigmatized group of people in my...
What Else Do You Grieve When You Grieve Your Friend?
Jun 11, 2012 by Victoria Noe
On Friday, we looked at what you grieve when your friend dies: the regrets that revolve around their actual death. Today, I’d like to shift the focus just a bit to answer the question a different way. Because when you grieve the death of your friend, you’re also grieving a part of you.Friends come into our lives at different times: the first day of school or a new job, in a play group or on a sports team.I think it’s safe to say that Shakespeare was right when he insisted that “all the world’s a stage, the men and women merely players”. We may not consider ourselves actors, but we are different people at different times in our lives.I...
Our Parents’ Friends
Mar 02, 2011 by Victoria Noe
In the old Peanuts comic strip, adults were occasionally heard from but not seen. Now and then you’d see the lower part of a body, but never, ever a face. The adults were drawn as if at a child’s eye level: feet, legs, hands.When you were growing up, there were adults around you who were friends of your parents. They were the same kinds of friends you have: people they met at school, at work, in the military. They shared the same kinds of experiences: growing up, dating, marrying, divorcing, raising children, taking care of aging parents. They laughed and cried and argued and shared the special moments in their lives.Some of these adults may be as close to you...