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Dear Christine, Grieving in Garden City

| February 27, 2017

Dear Christine,

My husband passed away unexpectedly last week. Unfortunately we didn’t prepare well. The house was in his name and his daughter and son in law are already measuring for drapes and want to know when I’ll be out. I’ve lived there for 30 years! They’ve been so nice and accepting over their years, it never occurred to me that something like this could happen. Fortunately our bank accounts and investments are in both of our names and my attorney is telling me we set thatup correctly and not to worry. I’m offering this as a cautionary tale to your readers along with my question. Where does a 65 year old gay man with no family and very few friends go to not feel so lonely? Thanks for any ideas you may have.

Grieving in Garden City

Dear Grieving,

Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the passing of your husband. How difficult a time, plus the added stress of his adult children readying themselves to take over your home of the last 30 years. I’m very glad to hear that you have an attorney at your side to guide you through this difficult time. A 25 year old friend invited me to watch a movie of the musical “Rent.” She was surprised at how painful I found the movie to be. I lived through those days of AIDS being a death sentence and AZT bringing hope, but not much healing. I worked in hospice bereavement care back in 1990, and remember well how families of those who died of AIDS often held separate funeral services and sometimes cleaned out the house of the deceased while the grieving partner was out. That was such an outrage! Having legal protection is necessary, and marriage does that in the simplest way. Readers, please contact a lawyer such as Daniel Gwinn who also writes for this website, and get your will or trust set up now!

It’s a shock to be single, widowed and grieving at 65. It’s important to take some time to grieve, but also find support. Have you checked out Affirmations in Ferndale There is a Senior Koffee Klatch for those who are 45 and older, meeting on Wednesdays from 1 -2:30 pm. There is also a 45+ Club, a new monthly group that meets the 3rd Thursday of each month from 12 -3 pm at the Youth Drop-in Center. Sometimes there has been a grief and loss group that meets there, but I don’t see that listed on the website now. Sometimes it has met at a local church, such as the Metropolitan Community Church Detroit Ferndale. Sometimes LGBT grief groups have met at Renaissance Unity Church, the Church of Today in Warren as well, as well as local funeral homes.

Beyond those groups, check out what’s happening in Get Out And Live. Each issue features dozens of groups that are into all kinds reasons for being: hiking, biking, dinner, service, socializing, sports, etc.

Another resource is SAGE which stands for Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender EldersSage

This is a national organization founded in New York City in 1978, but has spread far and wide. In Michigan, it finds a home in Affirmations and is called SAGE Metro Detroit. Contact Affirmations for further information.

Most of all, take good care of you. It’s a very hard time for you, but you do have the legal protection you need. There are others with similar experiences you will meet at some of these groups. Take care and let me know how you are doing.

Christine Cantrell, PhD


Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067

Click here to email Christine.


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Category: Featured Column

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