Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Support group for LGBT widows and widowers unites members in grief
by Scott C. Morgan

This article shared 4058 times since Sat Sep 30, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In May of 2016, C. Russell Bond of Wilmette founded a monthly support group for LGBT widows and widowers. The group's most recent September meeting happened to fall one day after an anniversary date with much personal significance for Bond.

On Sept. 9 of this year, Bond marked the 46th anniversary of the first time he met the late Donald G. Tabler at a long-gone Rogers Park gay bar called the Greenleaf. Sept. 9 was also the 19th anniversary of Bond and Tabler's 2004 wedding in Toronto, just a little more than a year after same-sex marriage was legalized in the Canadian province of Ontario.

But what amazed Bond about this year's anniversary date is that it also coincidentally fell on the official dedication of a Wilmette sesquicentennial landmark. To celebrate the village's 150th anniversary, Wilmette residents were invited to purchase personally inscribed sidewalk bricks along Ouilmette Way. Wilmette officially incorporated on Sept. 19, 1872, so the landmark's dedication squeaked in with just days to spare within the village's sesquicentennial year.

Bond paid upwards of $300 for an inscribed brick that commemorates the Wilmette home that he had shared with Tabler starting in 1979. So it was wonderful for Bond to have the sesquicentennial landmark's dedication land on two important anniversary dates for him and his late husband.

Bond finds it strange that even though there is a history of prostate cancer within his family, it was what ultimately claimed Tabler's life. Tabler was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, and he lived on through multiple treatments until his death in December of 2012.

But Bond personally keeps the memory of Tabler alive via his monthly LGBT Widows and Widowers support group.

"I was always a group person," said Bond, adding that he and Tabler previously ran the social group North Suburban Gays from 1982 to 2007.

"I wish I had done more for Don before he passed away, and I started to have all these regrets," Bond said. "I thought, if I'm having these regrets, there must be others out there. So that's what finally encouraged me to start the group."

Bond's own grief counseling following Tabler's death was a mixed bag. Bond said he lucked out with individual counseling in the first year, since the assigned therapist through his insurance happened to be gay.

But it was more difficult when Bond sought out grief counseling groups. Bond remembers reaching out to a support group at an area Catholic church.

"I specified basically in the email that I lost my partner and that I was gay," Bond said. "And I never heard back from them."

He also attended a more secular grief support group run by the Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook. But Bond often felt out of place because so many heterosexual group therapy members dwelt so much on their children and grandchildren.

"It just wasn't relevant to me," Bond said. "Don was my first gay experience, and I met him when I was 32. So, I didn't have much of a gay single life by the time I was widowed."

The first few group meetings of the LGBT Widows and Widowers were held initially in a suburban Chicago coffee shop. But it was not a comfortable fit for some attendees.

"People wanted to talk, and they didn't feel comfortable in a public setting to talk about those issues—especially if they weren't necessarily out," Bond said. "So that's when we started meeting in people's homes."

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the support group switched to online meetings via Zoom. The shift ended up attracting many out-of-state attendees, so Bond now alternates group meetings between in-person and virtual sessions.

Frank Gassmann of Chicago has been a member of the group for more than four years. He continues to attend what he calls "a safe space to share my feelings."

"I continue to participate to help others who've experienced a more recent loss," Gassmann said. "It helps my grieving process when I provide support and guidance to others."

This year's August and September meetings for the LGBT Widows and Widowers support group explored the topic "Embracing a New Identity: Navigating Life After Loss."

"All of a sudden, you're not a couple anymore. You're that third wheel and it's very awkward with your coupled friends," Bond said. "Your whole social structure now changes and you're an individual again."

Bond occasionally runs into friends who question why he continues to run the LGBT Widows and Widowers group so many years after his husband's death. But Bond has several responses, even for those who have bluntly told him that he should just move on.

"With all of the psychology books I've read, most of them say the greatest loss you will experience is your spouse. And they will always be with you," Bond said. "Just the fact that you reminisce about your partner, it's not a morbid feeling. You're celebrating the life that you two had together."

The next meeting of the LGBT widows and widowers support group is 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15. In order to attend, participants must officially register through at

This article shared 4058 times since Sat Sep 30, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

'When Black queer people win, everybody wins': Foundation releases report to improve equity at community orgs
In November, Lighthouse Foundation released its 2023 update on its research project, the Black Queer Equity Index, providing a guide that non-profit leaders can use to improve the experiences of marginalized employees and clients. Since 2020, ...

Gay News

WORLD Thai marriage law, French bill, Miss Universe, IKEA, activist dies
Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said that the cabinet approved a draft law on marriage equality and that it would be brought to parliament during a session starting in December, Reuters reported. If the draft law ...

Gay News

Scotland announces five-year plan to help nonbinary people
Scotland's government has announced a five-year action plan to improve the lives of non-binary people, Yahoo! News reported. Among other things, the first-of-its-kind plan in the UK (and, quite possibly, in the world) includes actions to ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Bishop removed, business news, Jezebel shutting down, MAP head
Pope Francis removed the bishop of Tyler, Texas—a conservative prelate active on social media who has been a fierce critic of the pontiff, PBS reported. A one-line statement from the Vatican said the pope had "relieved" ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health Workers United members gather for post-strike rally
Howard Brown Health (HBH) Workers United members held an evening post-Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) strike rally Nov. 15 in front of the new multi-story HBH Halsted clinic. It was the conclusion of their two-day strike that ...

Gay News

Eye-opening LGBTQ+ women's survey shatters myths and spotlights challenges
The realities, ambitions and hardships of queer women aren't often given deep analysis by researchers. Mainstream socio-political conversations, research data and legislative choices frequently center individuals whose lives are marked ...

Gay News

Mayor Johnson names new CPDH commissioner
Mayor Brandon Johnson announced the appointment of esteemed public health leader Dr. Olusimbo "Simbo" Ige, MD, MS, MPH to serve as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). The announcement took place days after ...

Gay News

IDHS head Dulce Quintero reflects on making history, being an advocate
Dulce Quintero has always believed in helping people—and decades of doing so has resulted in an especially noteworthy achievement. Recently, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker appointed Quintero, a member of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, as ...

Gay News

UN committee criticizes United States' LGBTQ+ record
Reviewing the United States' record on civil and political rights, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) condemned the country's record on LGBTQ+ rights, according to Human Rights Watch. In 1992, the United States ratified the ...

Gay News

Former CDPH head accepts position with the CDC
Former Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady is now with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, according to Axios. The CDC announced on Nov. 9 that Arwady will ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Election results, campus items, Puerto Rican icons, healthcare suit
Historic developments took place during the Nov. 7 elections that happened in some states. LGBTQ+ Victory Fund candidate Rue Landau won an at-large seat on the Philadelphia City Council—making her the first out LGBTQ+ candidate to ...

Gay News

Pope: Trans people can be baptized and act as godparents
Pope Francis has stated that trans people may be baptized and act as godparents or witnesses to marriage under the same conditions as any other adult—as long as a scandal does not result, according to PinkNews. ...

Gay News

Three states sue to block abortion-pill sales
On Nov. 6, three states—Idaho, Kansas and Missouri—sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Health and Senior Services for approving the abortion pill mifepristone and allowing its ...

Gay News

Jamaica court upholds sodomy law; activist ends fight in that country
On Oct. 27, the Jamaica Supreme Court upheld the country's anti-sodomy law, claiming that only Parliament could repeal the statute—and the ruling has resulted in a longtime advocate/attorney ending his fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the ...

Gay News

Berlin Nightclub workers urge customers to boycott as they fight for fair contract
Berlin Nightclub workers are calling for people to boycott the LGBTQ+ club while they push for their first contract, which they hope will include increased wages and access to healthcare. Berlin Nightclub workers unionized in April ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.