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.

All it takes is a little effort and you can coast, because a lot of grief is coasting, not flying. I’ve been trying to stay positive and live in a manner close to what I used to, but sometimes it can be hard and I can’t always carry myself through. Luckily, I have people who are willing to be the wind beneath my wings and give me a little boost through the storms.

I’ve always considered myself a pretty independent person, and it’s been hard for me to get used to relying on other people. I find myself getting embarrassed when I have to ask for help, and that’s a personal goal of mine to overcome. I’ve struggled with letting others support me through the hard times, and I think it was because I felt abandoned initially. I felt as if my dad, someone who is supposed to be there and love me unconditionally, could hurt me, then I didn’t trust anyone not to. I closed myself off and I denied any little bit of help that was offered to me.

I still struggle with letting people in, but I’m getting better at it. I’ve learned that closing people out only ends up hurting us both in the end. Spreading my wings means not only taking opportunities and continuing to live, it also means opening myself up to the unknown again. I was so used to closing myself off and trying to protect myself from things that weren’t happening, and it hindered a lot of my healing and grief process.

I had a problem growing up of trusting people too much, and it turned into the opposite. I was taking out my negative emotions on the people and the world around me who didn’t deserve it. I didn’t want to admit the anger I had towards my dad because it was a lot easier to blame it on the people who were here to fight back. Once I accepted my emotions, I felt freer. Don’t get me wrong, I still felt pretty bad, but at least I was being honest with myself.

We all get dealt a hand in life, and some are less than ideal. I used to say life is what you make of it, but I used to have a pretty near perfect life. I strayed away from that saying for a while, but I’m back in that mindset. I can’t change the past or what I have been put through, but I can make the most of my situation. I can do well for myself and my family. I can do well for my dad. I can try to make a difference within a community I never thought I would be a part of. I am embracing what I was given, and although it can be challenging, I feel more empowered and in control of my own life again each and every day.

“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.