closure after loss |

In the dictionary closure is a bringing to an end, the state of being closed. In death, there isn’t complete closure. At least I haven’t seen it in the living. I know our families and neighbors want us to move on because it’s driving them crazy to see us heartbroken. They say, Haven’t you found closure yet? They want the best for us which would mean healed and done. It’s not an activity that has a beginning and an end or a steel door we can close. Another definition of closure is “closing the gap.” Now that makes more sense with grief. I do believe over time the hurt lifts and we learn to live with the new situation, but closure- I’m not so sure this works in this widow world or other worlds like work and relationships. People who have not been through a deep loss over-simplify the stages and think they should be “done” after a given time like 6 months. So when people ask me when I’m going to get closure, I say NEVER. This is one more burden put on our hearts that shouldn’t be. This is not on the checklist to get done.

Now to understand some of the pieces of the story to bring acceptance is a different story. I searched for years within myself and also did a ton of reading to understand certain aspects of my husband’s death. It was an action and it helped me fill in the gaps as I talked to others who knew him or others who had gone through a similar situation. After I figured out some of the whys and hows, I could look inside myself and start to heal within. It’s healing and a place to find meaning, not a closing. Dang it- it’s not like the movies at all!

I am a filing machine. Anything in our house that can fit in a paper file, is. I also feel like I have files in my head. I think I am currently out of ram to hold these files, but keep searching for where to put some of this stuff that doesn’t have a place. I will find a place for this loss. That doesn’t mean that file is closed. I love to have things done. I love lists and putting a checkmark by an item to cross it off my agenda. I’m so bugged that grief isn’t like this- it’s never simple and tidy. I want to be done with it, but I know after years of going through this, it’s like a file in my basement- it can be opened up and examined at any time.

I want to have goals and be working towards them for my whole life and most people are like this. Even those who are older still have goals and ambitions. My 80-year-old dad is working on writing his entire life story. If you’re not growing- you’re dying. Nobody gets to finish everything and there’s no sense of finality. Visiting the elderly homes I see how when they pass away they were reading a magazine they never got all the way through. I see a puzzle they were working on that was not finished. They were living. Just like our loved ones were. So no, there is no complete closure.

Now I can begin to deal with my own heart, knowing this is a process, an experience over a lifetime. Marching forward…

the concept refers to bringing something to a close like a project or a school year- you don’t ever bring the grief of a loved one to a close.