by Alex Kleczewski, survivor and LOSS volunteer

In a gift of vulnerability and community, Alex is sharing her grief and healing journey with us 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.

This is a really personal and touchy topic for me.

Last fall, asking too many questions led to a small, not so pretty detour from the healing journey for me. I have learned to ask the right kind of questions now, and to let others go because all they did was haunt me and cause more harm than good. There are some questions that need to be asked and explored in order to help heal, and those can be really difficult to confront.

Questioning some of the beliefs I grew up with has been really hard for me. During my low points, I found my biggest question to be that of love. I grew up with a great example of love between my parents and unconditional love from both of them. After the loss of my dad, I began to ask is it real? Does it exist? What does love even mean if this could happen to me?

I thought I had the perfect life and things were all figured out, and then suddenly, this fairy tale I believed in ceased to exist and I wasn’t sure what would take its place. The loss of the concept of love was the hardest one I went through.

I found myself pushing away those that I loved so that I could “protect” myself from what hurt me the most. I knew that I loved my mom and brother, but I tried so hard for so long to figure out what that meant instead of just cherishing the feeling. I spent so much time asking questions I wouldn’t get the answer to instead of remembering the love I have always felt from my family. It took me months to accept that lack of love was not a part of the equation, but I still, to this day, find myself questioning what love means.

Today, love is cherishing the laughter and time with those around me. I simply let love surround me and happen where it does, and I believe it was the love around me, not luck or strength, that has carried me through my worst.

There are other beliefs like religion and aspects of life that I struggle with. The ‘for-sures’ in my life were replaced with ‘what-ifs’; but I am learning to accept that. I am learning to question what I need to, accept the answers where they are given, and accept there are some questions that will never be answered.

Questions can haunt and hinder healing if they aren’t done in a manner cohesive with your process. My process has involved private questioning, and I think that has been hard for those around me to accept. Questions are personal, healing is personal, and pain is personal, however, the ability to recover and heal is universal and that is the part of the journey I want to share.

“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.