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’m not sure if it was harder for me to understand that I held the key to my happiness and future, or if it was harder for other people to understand that. My spark was extinguished for a long time. It would reappear every once and a while, but a memory, a thought, or a word would quickly put it right back out. I was always such a happy, bubbly person, and I immediately felt that disappear.

In the beginning, everyone tries to encourage you and bring your spirits back up. Everything is well intentioned, but it almost made it worse for me that people were trying to make me do something that I couldn’t. It was as if everyone was assuming I was choosing to be upset, and not understanding that in that moment, I wasn’t in control.

In fact, I felt out of control for months. I couldn’t control when the tears would come, or the anxiety, or the panic. I could be fine one second and completely lose it the next. While those days are diminishing, I still see a few every now and then. I am slowly regaining control of parts of my life that I thought I lost. Occasionally, they still go astray, but I have learned that I am in control of the person I choose to be, and not the circumstance. I choose to get out of bed and put a smile on my face, or maybe even forget the smile, but I still choose to get up.

I see my spark reappear, and it’s getting brighter and more constant. I met someone who has become a huge part of my life that has a spark greater than mine ever was, and ignites the one I have. I can always count on him to spare a little brightness when I need it and I admire the fact that someone can be so bright when surrounded by sadness. I am in charge of my life, but I also know that I need to lean on others every once and a while to regain the strength when I get too tired.

“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.