Thursday, January 12, 2012

Closure, for lack of a better word.

There was a definite end to my grieving. Although I didn't recognize it until a few weeks later, I know the moment it happened. Afterward, I accepted my loss and was able to move forward. I wasn't in survival mode anymore. I felt motherhood calling me back to Robin and Paul. When I played with them, I wasn’t just going through the motions. I put thought into our meals. I cleaned the house. I got Robin ready for kindergarten and took Pauly for walks around the neighborhood.

A high school friend Angie Giles sent me this article a few months ago. She and I have discussed loss, grief and closure on and off over the past year or so. I have been thinking about closure ever since she sent the article.

I don’t know that I have ever believed in closure, the way it is usually used. Yes, I moved on. Yes, the pain grew to be less and less in the everyday. But closure? On what? It sounds so final.

Joshua would be 17 today. He would be a senior and would have been driving for a year now. That means I wouldn't be driving to seminary every morning. I wonder what scars he would have added to our van. He and Dan would be sharing a high school and a room. He would probably have asked for some video game or a cool phone for his birthday. Would he have a job? I wonder what he would request for dinner tonight.

It has also been 15 years (last week) since my dad died. Because he was apart of my life so much longer, I am reminded of him even more often than I am reminded of Joshua. A certain color yellow, the sound of a VW engine, books that I saw on his night stand, a bald head, a round belly, when my brothers lick their bottom lip, when I close my right eye in the sun, when I teach my children to dive like he taught me. "Now lean over and let your body drop in. Your hands touch the water first, then the top of your head, then everything else." I miss my dad.

Where I wonder about Joshua’s life and sort of stick him in where I think he might fit, I really don't know. On the other hand, I recognize what my dad is missing and what he would love.

I wish he could see his sons and the courageous, smart and interesting choices they've made. He would be so proud of each of them. Seeing them do the things that they love while providing for their families, that would have brought him great joy.

I wish he could see what Gabby and Jordan have done with their blogs. He would be over the moon seeing what they've been able to accomplish and you can bet he would have spent some time in France over the past year. I wish he was going to ALT next week; Sara always threw Dad for a loop and I think Alt would blow his mind.

Oh! How I wish I could have sent him Robin’s article on Monday; I wish he could know all his grand children. I wish he could Skype with them. Man! Wouldn't he have loved that! “Grampa, go put on shirt.”

I wish he could use an iPhone among a zillion other things.

So closure, what does it mean? Is it real or does it just need a new definition? Does it mean we stop loving those we've lost? Or is it just the end of our grieving and the acceptance of our loss? Does it mean that we don’t think of them often? Or does it just mean that we get to a point where we can move on, continue to grow and learn without those people in our lives?

My opinion is that we need a different word. Although I was able to close the door on my grieving and go back to my life, my grief has never completely left me. I still have moments of deep sorrow but I'm not driven to distraction, unable to think about anything else like in those first terrible months. I certainly never closed the door on my feelings for those I love and when we see each other again, I'm sure we will continue pretty much where we left off.

Now who’s going to break it to dad that he missed out Craig’s List?

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