On the day of my brother’s burial, as I was getting ready to go to church, my uncle popped in to ask if I wanted to go to the hospital to see the body before they closed it and my response was a resounding “NO!” I started crying, saying I didn’t want my last image of him to be one of him lying in a box. Then my uncle said “You need to go. For closure”.
Closure: The one thing that I didn’t get from going to see the body.
Hold on a second. Maybe I don’t know what closure is, so maybe I shouldn’t say I didn’t get closure.
According to Encarta Dictionaries, “closure” is a term in psychology which means a “sense of finality and coming to terms with an experience, felt or experienced over time” . Wikipedia defines it as a psychological term that describes the desire or “need” some individuals have for information that will allow them to conclude an issue that had previously (for them at least) been clouded in ambiguity and uncertainty. Upon reaching this conclusion, they are now able to attain a state of epistemic “closure” .
Having established what closure is, I can safely reaffirm that that visit to the morgue did nothing to move me closer to that “state of epistemic closure”. I decided to ask around about the concept/idea/issue of “closure” and I got quite a number of interesting responses. eM said it’s something you use when you fix a weave and you don’t want to let your hair out; MiMi said “abeg, it’s oyinbo people who know what ‘closure’ is”; eL said ‘closure is for people who just like to talk and talk and talk. According to him… closure doesn’t exist.
A few months ago, I was going through a heartbreak that I felt I could get through by logically working my way through it. I was convinced that if I had answers, I’d be able to move on. I hung on to the absence of answers, nursing the pain I felt and telling myself that I’d only feel better if I had answers. Then one day, bearing my tattered heart in my hands, I went to visit a friend of mine. I told her that if I got answers, (and I had questions a mile long) I was sure I’d be able to heal (get closure). Then she said something so profound, that in itself was all the closure I needed. “So if he answers all these questions, don’t you think you will have even more questions?” Those words were the glue I needed to mend my broken heart. It was the realization that the power to be sad or be happy was right there in my hands. In a way, I had found closure; maybe not from where I was expecting it, but I did find a way to start moving on.
I’ve heard stories of people who were given up for adoption who have said that it wasn’t until they spoke to their birth parents were they able to handle all their insecurities. I’ve heard of rape victims being told that if they confront their attackers, they’d find closure. I know that dealing with emotional trauma of any kind is very hard and how people deal with it varies from degree to degree. I’m not sure about the efficacy of time being the all-purpose balm. It works for some, and it may not work for others. Some people search for closure because they believe it is what they need to put an end to a certain chapter of their lives. I don’t know if it works. I don’t know if closure is real or imagined.
What do you guys think? Is closure an oyinbo thing? Do you have any experiences you’d like to share? How did you deal with that particularly traumatizing situation? Was there a particular event that provided you the much needed salve for the hurt? Or do you think Life is what you make of it!
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