by Alex Kleczewski, survivor and LOSS volunteer

In a gift of vulnerability and community, Alex is sharing her grief and healing journey with us in a 30-day blog series as she responds to “The Mourner’s Book of Hope: 30 Days of Inspiration” by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.  Alex is an OSU student and LOSS volunteer. She lost her dad, Mark, to suicide in June 2017.

Surrendering to grief is an art, not a science.

It still is hard, and being uncomfortable doesn’t get any easier. Allowing yourself to be in your most vulnerable state is terrifying, and something you shouldn’t have to do alone. I, however, prefer to be alone. I think one day I will let someone in, but at this point, my wounds are too fresh to expose someone else to them.

It’s like letting someone pour alcohol on your cut; it burns and is so painful for a brief moment, but it soothes the pain in the long run. It makes the hurt easier to handle longer down the line, but I haven’t accepted the initial burn yet.

It’s easy for me to push it aside for a while, but then it’ll surface again at random times. This past week hasn’t been a great one. Random things like storms trigger memories with my dad that cause me to go into an ugly mindset. It mostly consists of panic. Everything seems like it’s a bigger deal than it actually is. I understand the overreaction in the moment, however, I can’t act on it.

I am trapped in a world where I understand the logic but can’t implement it. It’s a helpless feeling, and one that no one can quite understand. I’m working on being able to pull myself out of the paralyzed state back to reality, and time periods are getting shorter, but I still get lost.

The hardest part about grief is acknowledging that when I am down, I affect other people. But most importantly, they are more negatively impacted when I try to go at it alone than if I open up and am honest. Grief is selfish, but selfish isn’t always bad.

Sometimes I need things to be about me and I need those I love to understand that. I’m still new to this and I am still learning. I need to be selfish sometimes, but other times, I need to let people in to face the hurt with me, and lessen it a little by feeling their love and compassion instead of pushing it away.

“The Mourner’s Book of Hope: 30 Days of Inspiration” by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. is available on Amazon. When you log in to Amazon using Amazon Smile and choose Franklin County LOSS as your designated charity, a portion of the sale will be donated to LOSS’s programs for survivors.