10 types of support The Shore Grief Center provides



Participating at a Shore walk in 2014.

  1. First and foremost, we hold grief support groups each month for those grieving the death of a significant person in their life.
  2. Provide a group, Cameron’s Kids grief group, for children ages 6 – 12. This consists of six consecutive weeks with a meal provided before the group starts. We hold this once or twice each year – depending on the need.
  3. Provide a group just for teens (13-18). Save the Teens grief group is held for eight consecutive weeks. We have lots to teach the teens such as healthy ways to deal with their grief; not by using drugs or self-harm.
  4. Beyond the in-person groups, I answer calls from grieving adults, concerned friends and family, school counselors, mental health facilities and more requesting information about our services. Those grieving deserve, and receive, a soothing voice to help them through a confusing death (suicide, drug overdose or other expected death). There calls come in at all times during the day and night.
  5. We also provide comfort and information on our websites and Facebook pages (The Shore, Bereaved Parents, Save the Teens, and Wake Forest SOS). We are considering adding a closed Facebook group and are seeking volunteers to monitor the group.
  6. Provide support for those who have lost someone to suicide. This type of death slaps “survivors” in the face. Survivors are unclear why their loved ones choose to die. Just walking into a SOS group helps because you see there are other people who understand your pain and confusion. These groups helped me survive in 2005 when my 18-year old son choose death over life.
  7. Provide groups and support parents who have lost a child of any age. The death can be from drug overdose, murder, suicide, vehicle accident, illness – any type of death. The Bereaved Parents groups are here for them. We currently have groups in Wake Forest, Cary, Youngsville and Wilson for bereaved parents.
  8. Provide a sounding space for those grieving to express their fears, concerns, and even relief sometimes, after a death. We don’t judge or tell anyone how to feel or act. This allows bonds to form between group members who “get” how they’re feeling.
  9. Hold events where everyone can come together and relax and have a good time. Our next event (for anyone) is on 3/23. It’s our annual Comfort Food Cook Off. Click for additional details.
  10. Keep our main website, the Shore Grief Center, current with upcoming groups and events as well as helpful information and resources.

I hope this illustrates the depth and breadth of exactly what The Shore Grief Center does for those grieving.

Thanks for learning more.




New Book – “Beautiful Disasters”

I find myself with so much going on these days that I don’t know what to work on first or last. I’m not to the point of putting out fires – yet – but I feel it coming. I released by second book, “Beautiful Disasters – A Family’s Journey Through Teen Depression,” on June 20, 2017. It’s a follow up to my first book, “Save the Teens.” In “Beautiful Disasters,” I share a glimpse into the life of my small family during my son’s last three years of his life.

His natural (or birth) father died when Cameron was two months shy of his 15th birthday. This was pretty traumatic for him even if he wasn’t living with his dad at the time. He was there when his dad died on a March night in Washington, NC in 2002.

Anyway, most of you know the story but within “Beautiful Disasters” I share what occurred each school year. It also includes some of Cameron’s blogposts which are sometimes twisted and confusing. But drugs will do that to a brain.

I share the family fights, the groundings (sometimes we lost track of what Cameron was being grounded for already!) and the confusion of living with a teen who was depressed and who was abusing drugs to the point of self harm.

Pick up a copy of “Beautiful Disasters” and learn if your teen might be on a downward spiral like our son was. Books are on sale at www.carolynzahnow.com as well as Amazon (sign up for Smile Amazon and select The Shore Grief Center as your favorite nonprofit, that way you’ll be helping others who are grieving a death).

Thanks! And reviews online are always a plus. Shoot – I might even post a vlog one of these days!

Carolyn Z

Author, speaker


We are not funded by huge organizations

I tend to forget that a lot of people know very little about The Shore Grief Center so it’s time to to set some misbeliefs straight. We are a startup 501c3 nonprofit. We receive no government funding nor any from the supersized nonprofits which will readily take your donation when you are vulnerable after a loss.

This happens time and time again. I was one of those who raised a lot of money for such an organization after my son died from suicide. I wished I had donated that same amount of time and effort to the support groups which helped me survive this horrendous loss. Perhaps they didn’t ask for a donation. But now I know they could continue to help others if they received even small donations.

The Shore Grief Center’s facilitators are in the trenches with those grieving and helping them navigate the waters of lost dreams.  And yes, we can use your donations! We can expand to help even more people who do live in areas which offer no type of grief support.

So if you’re assisting someone who has experienced the death of a loved one and they have family and friends who wish to donate in their loved one’s memory, please consider donating to your local grief support group.

Donations for The Shore can be made here. We will use your donation wisely by being there, face-to-face, who those who are grieving.IMG_0314

Thank you and I’ll be writing more blogs to let you know how we help those grieving.

Carolyn Zahnow

Founder, Executive Director

Confused Grief: The death of an ex or casual friend

JC and CC

Carolyn and JC – 1980s

We all understand grief when a parent, aunt, uncle or sibling dies. But what about when an ex dies? Ex-husband or wife, ex-boy or girlfriend or even someone you knew but not close to you yet you still mourn their death?

I knew I had this issue when my ex-husband died but didn’t consider that others had the same experience until I mentioned it during a training recently. I started attending a grief group after my son died by suicide – that one makes sense. That led me to starting a group in my town and ultimately a nonprofit that offers all types of grief groups.

I no longer attend groups, but rather I facilitate groups. I am the leader so my grief comes second to others in a group. At the training I was attending, I was a participant in a grief support group and thought I’d try out the unresolved grief I felt for my ex-husband.

J.C., my ex, died when he was 44 years old. He had melanoma which he lived with for many years but finally it manifested into a brain tumor. We were not married during his cancer ordeal.

When J.C. died, I attended his funeral as well as my husband, my sisters, mom and many of his friends that he had drifted away from over the years. Yet at the funeral there was no mention of life before his marriage to his current wife. That was extremely hurtful to his many friends and me.

I knew this man for 27 years. We may have been divorced for 14 of those years but we were still friends and in touch since we had a child to raise – even if it was a in two different states at times and with two different spouses.

Last year I experienced the death of a boyfriend from my high school era. I tried to re-ignite our relationship three times over 41 years but the flame never took over for him as it did for me. Fortunately via social media, we did communicate but did not get to see each other (in person) before his untimely death.

His death was hard on me. I even warned my husband about grief surrounding the death of an old boyfriend. He didn’t question me.

There are also deaths that affect us even though we didn’t know the person well or at all. The best example of this is when Robin Williams died (on my son’s death day – 8/11). The world loved Robin and most were strongly affected when hearing of his suicide.

It seems we’re almost embarrassed by the grief we feel for someone we didn’t know intimately or even casually. No worries – it just means you’re human and capable of feeling empathy for these special people on the edge of your life.

While some die and we don’t mourn that loss. That’s normal, too. I seem to feel this way when someone older dies. I know they lived a long life while here and when they die, they go onto a more peaceful place.

But of course when it’s a parent or grandparent who is older, there is the missing that goes along with the mourning.

So know that you’re “normal” to mourn those deaths that maybe you feel you don’t have a right to. People touch us in different ways – some very deeply. Just ride out your grief and start to remember the good times.


The Shore Grief Center



Two / nine years – celebration and remembrance

The Shore Grief Center officially turns 2 years old on August 10, 2014! This is cause for celebration for many reasons. The biggest is, if a business is going to fail, it’s within the first two years. We continue to grow and want to do more!

The nine years part; that’s the anniversary date of my son’s death which was on August 11, 2005. Yes, I know, how ironic that the Shore’s anniversary date and my son’s death are only one day apart. Cameron must have been looking down upon me that day saying, “Go for it Mom. Go out and help those who are struggling with a death or considering suicide. If anyone can do it, you can.”

I know in my heart that I have touched others and helped them along their grief journey. People share that with me often. I never considered myself a savior by any means; just someone who knows the hurt and confusion when someone you love dies, and unexpectedly.

My son experienced death too early in his life. His dad died when he was almost 15 years old. Cameron did not live with his dad during that period but he did when he was 6 years old until the 6th grade.

A bit of background info; I was left by my first husband, Cameron’s dad, to raise him on my own when Cameron was a mere three months old. This was quite shocking and unexpected. I lived in a fantasy world for a year thinking that my husband would come back and love us. That didn’t happen. I remember the phone call clearly to this day…”I don’t love you any more. I won’t be moving back.” My heart was ripped into pieces. 123952412_6d42c1429e_q

How was I was going to raise a baby by myself? Surely I must have done something wrong. I kept this secret that my husband no longer lived with us for a year. Only two of my closest friends knew the truth and they helped me along this new path which was laid out in front of me.

The path took shape; I went back to college to receive a BA degree in Communications at NCSU, met a wonderful man who loved me and my son, traveled to other countries, lived in beautiful houses – overall life was much improved.

Life changed again after my ex’s death though. Cameron’s grief turned into major depression and was fueled by teen angst, alcohol and meth addiction. Then his death by suicide. Yet another path was to be formed.

I left my heart and mind open so the powers greater than me would lead me where I could sort all this out. And I can happily say it has all culminated with the creation of The Shore Grief Center.

I hope we can help you one day in some way. We’re here for you and your family. Thank you for your continued care, love and support.

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