A Year Without Alex

Sheryl KaczmarekMy name is Sheryl Kaczmarek. I am a wife and mother, living in the midwest - in middle America.

I have lived a fairly average life, which included some travel, getting married and starting a family.

My daughter had just graduated high school. My son was to begin his senior year. Their future should include college, work, and a bit further down the road, grandchildren.

But things do not always turn out like we think they should.

During July of 2006, the unthinkable happened. My dear son Alex died in a one car accident. He went off the road and struck a tree. He died instantly. There was no time for a goodbye. Alex was 17 years old.

At that moment, my world changed. We went from a family of four, to a family of three.

Not only was my dear son gone, but so was the future for him. Alex was on the threshold of so many things. A year away from high school graduation, and almost 'all grown up'-the world was there for him to decide his next move.

One never plans for something like this to happen. When it does, the reaction is not always what you would expect. Everyone handles crisis their own way.

I was stunned. How could this happen? To me!

The emptyness and loss I felt at the time of my son's accident, is hard to describe. It is hard to believe, that someone I loved so dearly, could be taken away, so swiftly.

The day I learned that my son died, I started writing a journal.

I cannot say exactly why I started to write, but I know that I wanted to remember everything that I was feeling, all the emotions that were running through me and all the related events that happened. I felt these might be forgotten, or remembered differently, as the mind tries to cope. I was afraid that if I did not record things, my son might be forgotten.

I wrote for one year, channeling my grief into a written form. It became therapeutic for me to write what I was feeling. I was writing for myself.

Looking back, I could see that I had started writing from a place of darkness. As time crept by, and it went by slowly, I could look back on what I wrote and see that a small light was beginning to enter. The dark was ever so slowly being pushed aside.

I saw how my journey was progressing. I thought that I could help other people in a similiar circumstance, see that the extreme darkness does lift, little be little. The end result became a book.

Book Reviews

I am so glad this book was recommended to me. After reading "A Year Without Alex" it brought me to a point where I felt compelled to reflect on my own life and to realize any one of us can 'go' at any time.

Jenny Z.


Like prayer, faith and trust can work miracles, as documented in this wonderful book. It has been a supreme blessing to me and I know it will deeply affect your own life, as you go day by day with this courageous and faithful lady.

Ronald A.

Throughout the year, with the help of friends, family and time, I slowly put one foot in front of the other, until I cleared the darkness.

At first, I did not realize how grief stricken I was. Now, looking back, I am grateful for every bit of light that has been let in.

I have learned that grieving never ends. It changes it's face as time goes by. Grief is unique to everyone. I put my energy into a journal, that became a book. It is an inspiring look at coping with a loss and building back up again.

The book shows, that as the days and weeks go by, the everyday things in life that were disrupted so suddenly, slowly come back into focus.

There is no set procedure, for the healing process. You go at the pace you feel you are capable of. Some days there is no progress. Other days things seem better. With time, things will get easier to deal with.

I find myself, still coping, adjusting, and healing. I think that my heart will always be sad.

"A Year Without Alex" offers hope in the face of losing a loved one. It is an honest story, of moving from the place of intense grief, to facing the present, without my son.


He Only Took My Hand

Last night while I was trying to sleep,
My son’s voice I did hear,
I opened my eyes and looked around,
But he did not appear.

He said, “Mom, you’ve got to listen,
You’ve got to understand,
God didn’t take me away from you,
He only took my hand,

When I called out in pain that day,
The moment that I died,
He reached down and took my hand,
And pulled me to His side.

He pulled me up and saved me
From the misery and pain.
My body was hurt so badly,
I could never be the same.

My search is really over now,
I’ve found happiness within,
All the answers to my empty dreams
And all that might have been.

I love you mom and miss you so,
And I’ll always be nearby.
My body’s gone forever,
But my spirit will never die.

And so, you must all go on now,
And live, and understand…
God did not take me from you,
He only took my hand."

Author Unknown


If you are facing your own crisis, of losing a loved one, I offer my heartfelt sympathy.

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