No Such Thing as Closure

I often wonder who the “expert” was who invented the concept of “closure”.  I’m sure whoever it was had never had a loss any greater than a toenail.

Of course, it sounds like a great concept, an end to our grief or loss, but the truth is, it’s a fallacy that sets people up for inevitable disappointment when they are unable to obtainable the elusive “closure” they are seeking.

That’s not to say that we will walk in deep grief for the rest of our lives, or that we can’t experience laughter and joy. In fact, it’s the opposite. However, expecting someone to close the door on a deep loss is cruel and insensitive.

Those who support capital punishment go so far as to promise that if it were reinstated, there would be closure for the families of the victims.  That’s a very seductive argument for those who are in these situations, but it’s unrealistic and something about which to be very cautious.

I admit that when David Bagshaw and another inmate were shot in prison for attempting to kill another prisoner, I was disappointed that it was the other male and not David who succumbed to his wounds.   We would never have to attend a parole hearing, never have to worry about when he gets out, never again hear about all the passes and other things about which we receive notification, but that wasn’t the case.  Would there be fewer reminders? Yes.  Might it prevent him from hurting someone else in the future? Perhaps—but would it have brought us closure? …Absolutely not.

But this isn’t meant to be a debate about the death penalty.

For me, closure around Stefanie’s death will only come once I die.  She is not something I can just put in a box on the shelf and scratch off my list of things now dealt with.  She is my child, my heart, my very breath and I need her to be alive in my life.  I wouldn’t grieve so acutely if I hadn’t loved her so intensely and for that I can only be grateful.

The dictionary describes closure as “the state of experiencing an emotional conclusion to a difficult life event”.

It’s how we deal with grief that will define our futures.  Searching and waiting endlessly for some fictitious finality can only leave us empty and missing whatever life we have left for ourselves.

When I remember Stefanie, I swell with love and pride because of who she was.  At the same time I feel a deep sadness for all that was to come that can no longer be.   There can never be any closure, nor would I want there to be, for the simple reason that my love for her will never die.

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