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Jason Turner

Jason Coy Turner found his family in Sarasota, thanks to Senior Friendship Centers’ Loss and Growth Support Group for LGBTQ seniors in our community.

Three years ago, Jason tragically lost his beloved spouse, Robert, after twenty-one years together. They married seventeen years into their relationship, when it became legal. “Robert had my heart, and I had his,” he shared. It was hard for him to find ways to move forward after Robert died.

A few months later, Jason moved to Sarasota from Birmingham, Alabama, still desperately trying to come to terms with his loss. By chance, Jason heard Robert Rogers, director of Community Outreach at Senior Friendship Centers, speak about the grief support group. Jason immediately sensed this was the chance he’d been waiting for – to connect with others who were grieving and feeling isolated.

Jason had previously thought about joining a support group, but he thought it would be difficult to feel as though he could truly be himself in a group that wasn’t exclusively for members of the LGBTQ community. “This group is special. We connect on such an intimate level…and the way we talk about our grief and our relationships feels so deep. I don’t think it would have been the same for me in any other group.”

Jason came to appreciate the group even more after the loss of a more recent relationship. Now he feels that he can better recognize his own needs and what’s best for him as he moves forward in his life and continues to heal.

With these new connections, Jason has found his home here in Sarasota at Senior Friendship Centers. In this space, seniors can come together and share their grief, as well as their joy, and know that they’re not alone.

“I call this group my new ‘church’, not in a religious way, but spiritually. I love it and I miss it so much when I can’t attend. It’s led to so much personal growth for me…It’s my family.”

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