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Managing Grief

How do we cope with the death of a spouse or lover? Or of a parent or sibling with whom we had a troubled relationship?  What particular challenges do LGBT people face in grieving? Surveys show that most Americans consider the loss of someone’s unmarried partner less traumatic for the survivor than the loss of a wife or husband. Where does that leave gay men and lesbians whose partners die? Bereavement experts say many minorities suffer "disenfranchised grief" - grief not fully recognized by society. On this week's Out in the Bay (7pm Thursday), Eric Jansen and guests discuss these and other aspects of grief and loss.  (First aired March 27, 2014; re-broadcast 7pm PST January 1, 2015)Guests: Reagan Humber is bereavement coordinator for Gentiva Hospice of the East Bay and an Episcopal chaplain; Susan Casslan is a former psychiatric nurse who chairs the Grief and Consolation Ministry at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco and wrote a book about death and dying: Conversations with Richard Purcell: The Adventures and Reflections of a San Francisco Renegade Priest,* published in 2012. 

Grief support groups: In San Francisco, Most Holy Redeemer hosts free, LGBT-friendly grief support drop-in groups on the third Tuesday of each month, 7-8:30 pm in the parish library, 100 Diamond St. For more information, email gcm@mhr.org.  In the East Bay, Gentiva Hospice currently offers free grief support groups at Alameda Hospital, Alameda, on the last Wednesday of every month and at Emeritus at Creekside Lodge, San Pablo on the first Tuesday of every month. Both groups are from 4:00- 5:30 PM. For more information contact Reagan.humber@gentiva.com or call 925-737-0203.

*(Richard Purcell was an openly gay Franciscan priest who ran a homeless shelter for men with AIDS in San Francisco's Mission District for 20 years. As Richard became ill and died from ALS  ("Lou Gehrig’s Disease"), he was cared for by some of the same gay men whom he had helped earlier. )