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.

Sharing has been a really important part of my healing process. Initially, I had tried to handle all my feelings internally, and that led to struggle. I then found myself going through an over-sharing phase simply because I felt lost and wanted answers. I wanted someone to tell me things were going to be okay.

The turn-around for me, ironically, came from one of the people at LOSS: Denise. I had met her before when I was previously planning on attending volunteer training before my dad died. The kind texts and check-ins within the first weeks were really sweet, but she came downtown for coffee about a month after, and it was the first time I found myself able to share what I was feeling.

At this point, I had become numb and could talk about my dad and the circumstances without feeling anything or shedding a tear, and I’ll never forget sitting down at Starbucks and having her look at me and simply ask, “Do you feel like you are going through the motions?”

That was all I needed, someone to acknowledge my life wasn’t normal and not to baby me. I needed the realness, the rawness, and the emotion that she provided. I don’t know what I would’ve done without a pull back to reality and realizing there was a community of people who have been through what I am going through, and that they have survived.

I am at a phase now where I am comfortable sharing my story in the hopes that it might help someone else work through their own. The beginning is hard, and I hope it provides a little comfort to know that you’re not alone and that regardless of the circumstances, it isn’t easy for any of us. I have become open about the topic of suicide and my own experiences, but there still are some things I keep to myself, and probably will forever.

There are limits and boundaries, and they are different for everyone. Self-awareness through the grieving process is key and allows you to focus on the areas that are the most important for your own mental health.

“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.