Coping With the Loss of a Teen by Suicide


At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Carolyn Zahnow about The Shore Grief Center and tips she has to find healing after suicide loss.

Carolyn lost her son, Cameron, in 2005 when he was 18 years old.  In the video below, Carolyn shares advice on how to cope with this experience if you’re grieving after having lost your teenage child to suicide.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • The first year is awful, Carolyn says, and describes it as being in a fog.
  • Carolyn first recommends going to a grief support group. Carolyn also attended hospice groups where they hit you with the hard truth that your future has been changed forever.
  • Attending those groups was admittedly hard, but a very eye-opening experience.
  • Carolyn also journaled every month for a whole year in order to clear her head in the morning so that she could function throughout the day.
  • You have to realize that there is a future. It will be a different future from what you had planned, but you will survive.
  • It’s common for parents to go through a stage where they feel angry, but Carolyn says that forgiveness is a powerful thing. Whoever you’re blaming, just forgive them because it won’t bring your child back.
  • Carolyn has written a book called “Save The Teens: Preventing Suicide, Depression, and Addiction.”
  • The book includes a whole year’s worth of Carolyn’s research about these topics while she was asking herself why her son took his own life.
  • By writing the book, Carolyn wanted to help other parents see what’s going on with their teen. Also included in the book is a lot of Carolyn’s son’s writing and art work.

For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.

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