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.

I have gone through my negative phases without a doubt, but I have now moved into my brighter phase, and I hope to stay there.

I had always been thankful for what I had and tried not to take it for granted, but once this happened to me, I didn’t think I had anything to be thankful for. I looked at all of the negatives life was throwing my way and spent so much time focused on the bad instead of all of the good I was surrounded by. My boyfriend was the first to be completely honest with me and told me one day how much time I spent focusing on the bad in life instead of the good, and I needed that honesty to reevaluate what I spent my energy and time doing.

Now, I spend a lot of time reminding the people that I care about that I am there for them and love them because that is what has mattered and gotten me through. I am grateful for my mom and the constant support and love she radiates. The fact that we can talk about anything and everything with one another has been a huge help. I look at her like a best friend and someone that won’t judge or be mad at me for decisions I make. She is a rock when she needs to be and we can reverse roles when the situation calls for it. We have adapted and become stronger together and I couldn’t ask for a better role model and woman in my life.

I am grateful for my brother and the way I know he worries about me—but won’t tell me—and finds a way to check up. He has been a stable, steady force and I love the way that we can glance at each other when something is said or happens and burst out laughing. I appreciate our differences and seeing things from his perspective when mine is jaded, or for his honesty when I need to hear it. I’m thankful for the sense of adventure he radiates into our family and his drive to always do the best he can.

I am grateful for the love I feel each and every day. I’ve taken to gratitude whenever a small inconvenience feels like the end of the world. There is a way to twist any dark situation a little brighter. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes, while you might have to squint a little to see it, it’s there. Through my dad’s death I have strengthened relationships, created relationships, and redefined what I value and want out of life. It is a horrible experience, but if the past cannot be changed, we might as well focus on the good we can create in our own future.

“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.