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.

Doors are always open. Sometimes they might be closed, but unlocked, and all it takes is a little effort to get through them. In the beginning, so many people reached out and helped to support my family. The amount of flowers, calls, and love we received was touching. It was heart-breaking, yet heart-warming to see how many lives my dad had touched.

I think something no one ever talks about is how you might get led astray for a little while, and that it is okay. It is normal to go through a change phase. I did, and luckily, I find myself closer to the normal version of me today. I have always been a quiet homebody, and for a few months I turned into a wilder version of myself who was always surrounded by big groups of people. I hate being in groups, but I realized after a while it was because I could hide. With so many people around, not everyone knew me or my story and I felt normal for a little bit. Granted, it was not a healthy way to feel normal and I quickly snapped out of it.

Today, I find myself testing every door I come across. I used to just wait for them to be open, but now I try them, and if they are locked, I still keep trying. I have learned that nothing is too much for me to handle and if I really want to do something, I can always find a way. My dad always was my biggest supporter, and I have found that I still believe he is. I find ways to live for me and I have a hope that he’s watching and still there with me. Through the good and the bad, I like to believe he is always there, smiling or shaking his head at some dumb choice I made.

What a lot of people don’t understand about this type of grief is the fact that I still find open doors, but I am down a completely different corridor. I put in a lot of effort and get a lot of support, but things still require a lot more energy and emotion for me to get through the same situation I would’ve easily sailed through before. People don’t understand that although I may make it through, even the good times are hard for me because they are laced with an underlying sad.

Important days where I know I should be happy are sometimes the hardest to make it through. I thrive when I am surrounded by people that encourage me and understand the bad days and stick by my side through the tears and roller coaster of emotions that come along with them.

“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.