Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Moving Day for Friend Grief

I hate to move to a new place. So much cleaning and packing and unpacking and organizing...it's exhausting. It's almost always an improvement, but still...

Today is moving day for the Friend Grief blog. I've been here on Blogger since my first post in February, 2011. It's grown by leaps and bounds, expanded, become a trusted resource and won awards. I hope all that continues, but it will not continue on Blogger.

This is the last post here before moving the blog over to my new website. It's a big jump, because now it's not just a blog, it's a full-service website. You'll find book links, reviews, resources and discussion questions. There's a page with links to my interviews and freelance articles, as well as upcoming events and speaking opportunities.

But no matter how fancy the packaging, this blog will continue. You'll still find articles of interest to those who grieve the death of a friend, guest posts and book/movie reviews. It will, I hope, continue to be a safe place for those experiencing a grief that often earns little respect.

So just hop on over to the new blog page on Victoria Noe. The first new post there will be next Tuesday, May 5, with an exciting announcement you won't want to miss.

To those of you who have found me and followed me here, my thanks. I hope you'll follow me over to the new site and continue to inspire me to keep writing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lots of Friend Grief News

It's spring. After a long, tough winter that tried everyone's patience, it's spring. The snow has melted, the brown grass is turning green. Depending on where you live, flowers have forced their way above ground. Some of you have spring fever, or maybe just hay fever. I feel like I have my own little spring going on right now.

Today is a day that’s been a long time coming. The Friend Grief blog is four years old, and it’s been in need of upgrading for quite some time.

So as of today, I (also) have a new website: VictoriaNoe.com.

This is a big step in a lot of ways. First of all, it’s my name, not the subject of my books. It was important to take this step because my writing has already begun to expand into other areas. That doesn’t mean it was easy. Putting my name out front – rather than the books – has intimidated me for a long time.

This fall will see the publication of the sixth and final book in the Friend Grief series: Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes. Next year they will be bundled into one book and released on audio. And then…well, that announcement is coming soon, too.

I wanted to expand what I offer online to my readers. So the new website includes a lot of new content:

            Reviews and book group discussion questions for each book

            Resource links specific to each book

            A complete list of my freelance articles and interviews

Sales links to the Friend Grief books as well as My Gutsy Story™ Anthology 2, which includes a story of my own ("I'm Not Gutsy, But You Are")

I’m not one of those authors who’s intimidated by speaking in public. So you’ll find a page devoted to public speaking, with presentations I can bring to your event or class.

On April 29, I’ll send out my first weekly email newsletter. I don’t want to fill up your in-box unnecessarily, so each one will be short, sweet and timely. The first 100 people who sign up for it will receive a free pdf of the first chapter of Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle, coming out in May.

I have the talented and patient folks at 1106 Design to thank for their hard work on my new website. I hope you’ll check it out and find a lot to like.

And have no fear: the Friend Grief blog will continue, with posts of my own, guests, book and film reviews and more. So feel free to keep checking us out right here.

My thanks to you all who have followed me this far. I’m not done yet.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Grieving For and With Your Friends.

It’s considered a classic now, Steel Magnolias. The play by Robert Haring made a wildly successful transfer to the screen with an all-star cast: Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah.

On the surface, it’s a story of the love between a mother and daughter. But as you watch the film, you can’t help but be struck by the emphasis on friendship.

The women in this film are friends, long-time friends who celebrate and tolerate each other’s imperfections. They aren’t shy about expressing their support or criticism, but it’s always, always, done with love. Maybe you have friends like them. I know I do.

So when Julia Roberts’ character dies, the older women rally around their friend, Sally Field. I’ve included the clip from the cemetery, a scene you’ll no doubt remember because of your inability to watch it without crying yourself.

Her grief and rage are familiar to those of us who have lost someone we love, whether friend or family. But what I’m always struck by are her friends.

They watch her standing alone near her daughter’s grave, and approach her. They try, mostly unsuccessfully, to make her feel better, to lessen her loss. But they know they can’t. You can see it on their faces. They can’t make the grief go away. They can’t justify her loss. They can’t change anything, though they’d move heaven and earth to do so.

They are helpless. Watch the scene: they are helpless in the face of so much pain. So they do what friends always do: they wait. They let her scream and cry and pace and curse. And they wait. And then, improbably, they make her laugh.

What did they accomplish, other than – temporarily – relieving the tension? Her daughter was still dead, her grandson growing up now without a mother. Nothing changed. Except for one thing.
She was reminded that she wasn’t alone. For me, the most devastating part of grief is feeling you’re alone, that no one else understands – or cares about – what you’re going through. 

That’s where friends make all the difference, even when they themselves are grieving. They can help their friend by understanding, not judging; by listening, not lecturing; by crying and on occasion, laughing.

“I didn’t know what to say” is a common excuse for doing nothing to help a grieving person. Well, guess what? You don’t have to say a damn thing. Just show up. Just listen. Because like Sally Field’s friends, you’ll make all the difference in the world.

Steel Magnolias