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.

Only being 21 years old has played a large role in my process.

I think it has been really hard for me to connect to friends and those my age because quite simply, they do not understand. I hope to God they never understand what I am going through, but most have not encountered loss yet in their lives. The typical assumption about my loss is, “That happened so long ago. Aren’t you over it yet?’ To answer that simply: no, I am not.

I find myself connecting and comfortable with middle-aged people. It is not even about the circumstances, but it is about how they handle it. Life moves so fast at my age, and friends have a hard time understanding my life completely halted for months while the rest of the world kept on moving.

I stopped in my tracks, and sometimes, I still do. It is hard for people to grasp that after almost a year, I am not “okay” yet, and things will always be different for me. I have found people even just five years older than I am respect the slowness and pace of grieving.

Everyone follows their own pace, and being young, I think my process will be a long one. So many things have been up in the air for me and I have no clue what I am doing with my life. I am sure that as I begin to figure things out little by little grief will appear.

I feel more equipped to handle this now, but it will always be a part of who I am and my life. It by no means defines who I am, but it does define how I deal with things I am going through. The grief process is slow, and rushing has only hurt me when I worried about “getting better” for everyone else, and not for myself.

“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.