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.

The easiest way to make it through the early days is to distract yourself and try to stay busy. The funeral and memorial planning, the contacting people, the thank yous, and the financials can only distract you for so long.

July and August were kind of a blur for me, and I completely over-exerted myself this past fall semester. I was working 24 hours a week downtown, taking full classes, working out every day, doing Autism therapy, and trying to be a regular 21-year-old girl going through something no one I knew understood.

It took me meeting someone kind-hearted and calm to allow myself to slow down. I had been so high-stress for so long that I didn’t know how to relax. It took someone telling me to sit down and take a break, take a nap, and have some fun for me to realize how fast I had been moving.

After Thanksgiving break, I was exhausted. All of the sleep I hadn’t gotten for months and the non-stop moving caught up with me. It took me months to recover from that and get back to a baseline sense of normalcy. I finally have a chance to relax in a safe place.

I am getting better at slowing myself down. I still find myself going from about 6 am -9 pm most days, but there are some days that I can spend relaxing now and not feel horrendously guilty or miserable. I can slow down and have a day full of nothingness and not be consumed with sadness anymore. There are the days of nothingness that are consumed with emotion, but I am learning to embrace them and cope in a healthy manner. It comes in waves, but I have found comfort and a safe place to let myself recover from what I have been through.

“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.