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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thank Goodness, I don't have closure!

'That's wicked good!'  Who ever would have thought that wicked and good would mean that something was exceptional.  There are so many phrases, words and statements that we have come to accept as standard, and sometimes even as a truth.  There are a plethora of expressions, sayings and idioms that we have adopted and accepted as part of our day to day language, whether it is verbal or written.  

However, there are so many misconceptions that are created by these 'accepted' phrases and ideologies.  For so many of us who grieve, we often hear the expression: 'well, at least you had closure.'  What is closure?  According the Merriam-Webster, closure means: 1: archaic : means of enclosing : enclosure; 2: an act of closing: the condition of being closed (closure of the eyelids) (business closures); 3: something that closes (pocket with zipper closure); 4:[translation of French clôture]: cloture; 5: the property that a number system or a set has when it is mathematically closed under an operation; 6: a set that consists of a given set together with all the limit points of that set; 7: an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality (victims needing closure); also : something (as a satisfying ending) that provides such a sense.  Yet, do we who grieve, really have closure? 

I had accepted this phrase, thinking, yes! I got to say my good-byes, I witnessed my daughter's burial, so I must have definitely had this thing called 'closure.'  After all there are so many people out there who do not get the opportunity to say that final good-bye; who do not have the body of a loved one to bury; who were unable to attend a loved one's funeral.  I was definitely very fortunate to have had an opportunity to have 'closure.'  

Alas! my professor has once again, left me pondering this very notion.  The fact of the matter is, we never really experience a sense of closure when we have suffered a loss of any kind.  With grief there is no CLOSURE.  As I left class, I really gave this some serious thought.  Yes, there were many 'closures' surrounding Rachel's death.  I watched the hospital doors close as they whisked Rachel into the critical care unit; I watched the curtains close, as we stood by helpless, because yet another emergency procedure needed to be done.  I felt the world close in on me when they finally met with us to explain that our beautiful, young daughter was brain dead and there was nothing more that could be done.  I watched as this beautiful young woman was carried in a closed casket to her grave.  I stood over the ground, that now enclosed my child.  Oh, there were so, so many 'closures' that surrounded her death.  

But have I found closure? NO!  Will I ever find closure? NO!  I realized that there will always be unanswered questions, there will always be some doubts, there will always be a gaping whole in my heart.  There will always be that feeling that 'something is missing,' 'something is not quite right.'  It reminds me of that book, that one particular book that has such an impact, that even years later, when the final chapter has been read, the book closed, and it has been placed back on the shelf, we still remember the plot, the characters, and the outcome.  It stays with us for years.  Yes, we may have closed the book on yet another chapter in our lives, we may have said our good-byes, but we have not forgotten, we cannot forget, they have had a tremendous impact in our lives.  Nothing has been 'closed' but their eyes, their coffins, their urns, everything else remains very 'open.'   There very existence lends itself to our own open story, our own lives, to an inability to close that final chapter in their lives, why?, because we are a continuation of their lives.  We, in the 'living' of our own story, carry with us the plot of theirs, our storyline is affected by their very presence in our lives (even if only for a brief time), and who we are.  

We may close many doors, windows, and chapters in our lives, but there is always something that remains.  There is always love, there is always a part of us that remembers, that clings to the knowledge that they are ever present in our lives, that they are always close, and that we would not be who we are, if they had never come to be.  

It is funny that one of the definitions is that we feel a sense of comfort in knowing we had closure.  Yet, I feel more comfort in knowing that there is truly 'no closure,' that that chapter in my life, still exists, and that I will not forget, don't have to forget.  So in response to all those well meaning individuals who remind me that I at least had closure; I will now be answering them with: 'thank goodness, I do not have closure!'  (I can't wait to see the reactions.)

Blessings! and until we meet again!


  1. Rose Mary; I agree with you, 'THANK GOODNESS, I DO NOT HAVE CLOSURE!', when my Brother was murdered 35 years ago this September, I asked why thousands of times, my Mother was there to talk to, it was her son. We talked and sometimes we laughed, and sometimes we cried. It felt good to speak of him, he LIVED, he was a part of our lives. My Mom is no longer here to talk to, she grieved over her son, he LIVED, she gave him life. I have no one now to talk about Johnny, and no one to talk to about my Mother, if it were not for her, I would not be here, she gave me life. I ask why???, why did she have to get Alzheimer's a woman who worked all her life, walked every day, had a great diet, why??, there will be no answers for either of them. There is no closure, we have our memories, and they are cherished memories. I want to Thank-You for your words, I savor every word you write. I find comfort in your words of wisdom. Thank-You so much...May God Bless You Rose Mary & your Family.....Thank-You

  2. Thank you Jade,

    When there is no one to talk to, I simply talk Rachel, my dad and even my grandparents at time. I speak to them in my heart or out loud, which ever I feel is necessary at the time. I also write, this allows me to put down on paper or here on my blog, what I am feeling, thinking or just wishing to express or share in some way. It gives me a way to vent, to 'say' what I need to say, even if no one is listening.

    We all find our own way of coping, and I know you have yours. Besides I am always willing to listen, if you wish to talk. The coffee shop is right around the corner...really!!!

    Take care, Love, Rose Mary xoxox