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.