Closed

I used to be obsessed with finding closure.

I pursued it with the intensity of Tiger chasing a tennis ball, convinced that it contained the peace I so desperately needed. I yearned for it at night and awoke frustrated when it hadn’t been gifted to me in my slumbers. I kept searching for the one thought, the one idea, the one fact that would seal my past away behind an air-tight door. I feared that closure would not be possible within the limitations my circumstances provided. I worried that I was dependent upon him to create that closure. I was concerned that I needed an apology or at least an answer to form that seal against the pain. An answer and apology that I knew I would never receive.

I started to believe that my closure would forever be incomplete, a door ajar allowing the whispers of the past to carry through.

And that thought scared the hell out of me. So I used that fear to drive my search for the elusive closure. I had to be creative since I had few answers and even fewer signs of remorse.

Closure is closely linked with understanding. If we know why something happened, it’s easier to accept its occurrence. But sometimes circumstances don’t allow us to sift out the truth from the past. But you can create your understanding even when you don’t have all the answers.

I started my search for understanding by learning about and systematically affixing labels to him: sociopath, narcissist, addict, etc. None seemed to truly fit, but they allowed an anchor for understanding. Next, I assembled pieces of the past like a giant puzzle, looking for patterns and ideas that fit. Slowly, an image began to emerge of a man that carried a dark passenger, a man that was defeated by his shame and his secrets. My conclusions may be accurate or they may be entirely woven of fiction. But it doesn’t really matter where understanding comes from; it brings relief regardless of its origins.

I had hoped that understanding was enough to bring closure. It was not. It answered the “why” but still did not alleviate the pain. My anguish was still a doorstop propping open the door to the past. So I focused on being thankful, using gratitude to soften the sorrow. Allowing the perspective of the bigger picture to bring purpose to the pain. And it helped. But closure was still hiding. I felt like there was still some unanswered question that kept me from being able to reach a conclusion.

Eventually, I tired of the search. I stopped looking for what I couldn’t seem to find.

I figured closure would remain a dream for me.

But then I drove by my old house last Friday and felt nothing but gratitude. And I realized that I had finally had it. My search for closure is now closed.

Sometimes the best way to find something is to stop looking for it.

Sometimes you have to trust that doors will continue to open before you can close the one you came in through.

And sometimes dreams do come true.

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15 thoughts on “Closed

  1. I’m trying to hold back the tears. (because I’m reading this while getting a pedicure) I am constant searching for answers that I know I’ll never get. The door thats wide open let’s emotions, memories, hopes and dreams for our family come flooding in. I don’t understand how someone could do this to a wife and kids. I don’t want him back because I’ll never trust him again. I have put the puzzle pieces together and it all started with his mothers death. Brain cancer. The day she died was the day I lost him too. Five years ago. I’ve been dealing with thia for so long….I hate him for doing this to us. Thank you for writing this. I didn’t know if I was going absolutely crazy.

    1. The death of a man’s mother seems to damage him somehow…my mother-in-law died 31 years ago, and my husband just started slipping away. In retrospect I think she was his rudder, and without her he just had no bearing any more. In contrast, when my mother died I worked at becoming “more” rather than less, as I tried to live up to the legacy she left. I hope for peace and strength for you, Jules. I can’t say the grief of a deteriorated marriage goes away, but the hurt eventually lessens. – Fawn

  2. so true… i attempted to find closure in the same places you did… personality disorders, family of origin blah blah blah… and came to basically the same conclusion, a man running from his shame and his secrets…

    i still struggle, but the more i force myself to focus on me instead of him… and not in the ‘what is it/wrong about me that caused this to happen to me’ way – because thats wrong. just…

    the most annoying thing in the world, for a while, was ‘you just have to let it go’… but people just tell you this… and expect it to be done, nobody really tells you how. or fully realises youve got a lot of muck to sort through before you can… fun.

  3. I’m glad you have been able to close that door. Closure is such an elusive term, because some people seem to think that pain and grief have built-in time limits. It comes when it comes, and no sooner. – Fawn

  4. I read your words and want to shove my head through a wall. Then I simply want to sit and quietly weep. Do we all seek the unattainable? I don’t want him to come home, truly I could not get back on that particular carnival ride. I just wish sometimes, he would have at least left a note, a final condemnation of my failure or his. Something, even a good-bye.

    1. Create what you wished he had left you. Write the note you wanted to receive.

      I spent hours one day writing the brief letter I wished he had sent. It was healing, a bandage applied to my heart.

  5. Your other readers seem to mimic the place I find myself…as this post touches the longing in me to know WHY…I am such an analytical thinker…and the WHY of all that my ex has done through the course of our relationship is the crux of my stagnation. I envy those who have “moved through” their situations more easily/quickly – even if just “seemingly so”. I don’t think we ever truly “get over” these events in our lives, we just move through them until they don’t affect us quite so much anymore. I only wish my contact could be less, so I could move through my time with him on my own terms. Thanks Lisa, for as always writing a post that resonates. 🙂

  6. Well stated. In an odd way it’s good to know that I am not alone in situations like this one, however, I am sorry that anyone else has had to endure. You do feel crazy not having the answers and the information that we feel we need to help us heal. But heal we must. While I am not whole yet, I know that I am on the path. I guess time and space are the best answers for us, even though our impatient hearts and minds are always in conflict with them.

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