with author Kim Goldman
kim goldman: "closure is b.s."
Dear person that started using the word closure as it relates to grief and loss,
I'd like to flick you on the nose. While those of us that are mourning the loss of a loved one appreciate that you are probably trying to comfort us, encouraging us to "find closure" is the last thing we want to hear. Please just hand us Kleenex, listen if we need to talk, or say nothing and learn to be comfortable in the silence. I know its hard to see us in pain but there is no magic word to make this “go away.” We will be okay, we will adjust, and we will find happiness - but suggesting to us that “moving on” is the best thing to do is actually confusing and insensitive.
We realize this is hard for you too, so sometimes we might just let you say the words “get on with your life, your loved one would want that” but in actuality, we would prefer it if you just stop talking. Being sad is okay. Feeling grief is okay. Not fixing it—is okay. For as long as we are living loss will be part of our emotional repertoire; please try to understand that rather than attempt to box it up and put it up high on a shelf for us. It will eventually come crashing down that way. Thank you for your love and support.
I hate the word closure. My father used to tell us not to use the word hate, he told me to always say “I have a strong dislike” but I hate the word closure. I have been listening to people suggest it to me for seventeen years and I don't think that they honestly understand what they're really saying when they use that term.
As long as I've been living with the loss of my brother, I have had to face countless uncomfortable emotions that include facing fears of my own mortality, the anxiety of thinking I could lose everyone around me, and the worry that erupts each time my friends and family don’t call after a long car ride or flight, or the reality that “forever” is just a hokey romantic concept that doesn’t exist in the real world.
And yes, sometimes I still experience intense anger. I still pick up the phone to call my brother even though I am painfully aware that he won’t answer. I still shudder when I think of what he went through the night he was murdered. And I still wonder what his children would have looked like. At any given moment I can be so overwhelmed with an ache in my heart that I just want to die so I don’t feel it anymore. But not allowing myself to experience all of those erratic, yet absolutely consistent, feelings makes me feel like, in some way I am dishonoring my brother’s memory. And that would be far harder to deal with than the ups and downs of mourning.
I have always said that grief and loss is like a best friend, “It knows me better than anyone, it’s reliable and always there when I need it. It makes me angry. It makes me sad. Grief comforts me, loves me and protects me. I will never have another relationship quite like it.”
But that’s my process. It's ongoing, it's fluid and it doesn't "close."