A new virtual support group for those in the LGBTQ+ community who are grieving a death is meeting every other Tuesday.
David Zoffoli, who lost Stephen Fales, his husband of 20 years, in 2018, and Merrimack Valley Hospice Clinical Social Worker Kara Cheek are co-facilitating the drop-in group which requires no long-term commitment. The group was conceived after Zoffoli experienced shock, overwhelming grief and numbness, but said his healing was slowed by “discriminatory behaviors and anti-queer microaggressions which are common to marginalized groups.”
“It’s sad to say that the LGBTQ+ community still experiences significant disenfranchisement,” said Zoffoli, recalling how “heads swiveled” when he was overheard discussing his late husband’s death benefits at a Social Security office. Despite his grief, he then felt forced to summon energy he didn’t have in order to make those around him laugh and feel comfortable.
“It’s a familiar adaption that many in disenfranchised communities face,” Zoffoli said. “Through this support group, Kara and I are committed to providing a safe place to discuss the myriad of issues that complicate bereavement for LBGTQ+ people so that healing can hopefully begin.”
The free group meets every other Tuesday, from 5:30-7 p.m., online. To register or learn more, those interested may call 978-552-4510 or visit MerrimackValleyHospice.org.