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’ll never forget the first true moment of bliss that I felt after my dad died. It came in July when a boss asked me if I would want to fly in his plane. He had been taking up people from work the last few months and I thought it might be a cool thing to do. I remember how nervous I was because while I don’t mind flying, I thought flying in a little plane might be a different story. I was anxious, but a different kind of anxious than I had felt for months. This was normal anxiety; good anxiety.

We took off on the runway and it was smooth and cool. I had the breeze blowing on my face since it was an open cockpit and I remember looking down over the Columbus area and smiling. It was the first time I’d felt normal emotions in a month. I remember looking down and remembering how big the world is and there is so much going on, and so much that I am missing out on by not choosing to live the life I wanted. It was the first time I felt the happiness deep inside of me, and I knew then that would find ways to regain the happy that I had.

I realize most people don’t get the chance to fly in planes, but it only takes the one spark of happiness to ignite the flame again. Now, I find other ways. Some are big, and some are little. It takes me going on a run to feel alive, writing to feel free, and sometimes just cuddling up and watching a movie to make me feel safe. All of those are pieces of what makes up my happiness and spark and all it takes is finding little ways to feel those emotions and build up what used to be.

“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.