Today is a tough day for my family. We’re saying goodbye to our father, brother, husband and uncle. These past few days leading up to the memorial and cremation had me reflecting on the nature of closure. With death as with separation of any kind, humans tend to seek assurance from the other. We want to ask questions, to gain understanding before we can move on with peace in our hearts. It’s almost pavlovian, considering the psychological definition of the term…
Closure or need for closure are psychological terms that describe an individual’s desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion toward ambiguity.
When dealing with the living, our tendency is to want to converse about events, to get answers. Why me? Why this? How could you? Why didn’t you? More often than not, the responses you get are all sorts of horse manure, yet our minds and hearts are wired to want to grasp at anything and call it the truth no matter how much it hurts to internalise. Often, we immerse ourselves in dishonest feedback that sets us back, rather than introspecting and learning what we can from the experience before moving on. Funnily enough, the only person who can give you closure is yourself yet this knowledge does little to give you what you seek so desperately. But the isolation hurts, and so we seek out others and their words to help us unblur lines and muddy our reality.
But what of the dead? Certainly, you can ask questions but you will likely get no answers. No last conversation, no sense of finality through a two-way dialogue. The nature of death, its suddenness and finality are so devastatingly conclusive. So here we are, drinks in hand lamenting and wishing. Wishing for one last word, one final opportunity. Yes, we lived each day like it was our last, but we did not know it would be our last together. Had we known, we would have never wanted the day to end. And now that the sun has set and we’ve had no choice but to wake up and face a new dawn that’s a little less bright, to walk the empty halls with hollow eyes putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward one step at a time. We have no answers and no real sense of closure. Can a hurt so deep ever really close? Time will numb the pain. The next dawn will be a little bit brighter.