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.

Throughout the process of this  I have borrowed hope, along with many other positive emotions, when in need of them. Fall was the time when everything felt dark and every single spark of light within me seemed so far away. It took me a few months to get over the shock, and once it hit, it hit hard.

I liked the concept of “The Thirds Rule”:

  • one third of people are neutral and will not help or harm you;
  • one third of people are harmful and end up making you feel worse than you did; and
  • one third of people will be empathetic, hope-filled companions

In general, I think that this concept rings a lot of truth; however, throughout the grieving process things change a little.

During the initial shock, I would say most people helped with a text or hug or card. Everything seemed like a kind gesture in the beginning. A few months later, I would say the opposite. I was seeing the worst in everyone, including myself. I felt like kind acts were forced instead of accepting that people genuinely cared about my well-being. I ended up cutting a lot of people out of my life—some good and some bad. I isolated myself, and in the last few months have slowly begun to reintroduce friends I stopped responding to or continuously canceled plans with.

I have found I have become really good at reading people and can feel kind hearts when I meet them. I have borrowed the smiles from those around me, found friends that give me laughter through the tears, and have relit the spark I always had. It doesn’t shine quite as bright anymore, but every day, with the strength of those around me, I get a little closer, a little happier.

“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.