Sometimes, you don’t get closure.
She didn’t have to be anyone up there but herself; she wasn’t mom, wife, sister or daughter. No one knew of her mental illness or how ravaged her life was because of it. She could smile at strangers and pretend for a while that everything was alright. That little town at the base of Loon Mountain was her bubble of imagined reality. Where everything was fine, her mind was not her enemy, and no one expected anything more from her than a smile.
She would always come home though, until the time when she didn’t.
Prior to her final journey to the mountains – unbeknownst to anyone – she made all kinds of arrangements that were more than just packing her bags. It was these arrangements that haunt me. It was these arrangements that would force me to accept something intangible and unreal.
My mother had taken this final journey to the mountains to end her life.
That’s all I got. A phone call from a relative I barely know.
There was so much left unfinished between the two of us. Questions I needed answered, ‘whys’ I needed to understand and words I needed to say to her that I had let ferment inside my soul for so long. She wasn’t the only one who suffered from the effects of her disorder – we all did. So many moments in the years since that hurt my heart not to be able to share with her. And times, when I've almost convinced myself it was a just a dream and that she is alive somewhere in one of her bubbles of created reality.
Life isn’t a work of fiction with a clear and concise ending all tied up nice and neat for you. Sometimes, life leaves you hanging, and you have to, have to, finish the story on your own.
Sometimes, you don’t get closure.
It has been almost four years since she died and throughout all of them I have faced the gamut of emotions that have played throughout my entire soul. Anger, sadness, grief and finally, acceptance. I have made peace with her and all that led up to her final journey to the mountains. A solid peace that I arrived to after serious soul searching. But yet, while I am at peace with her, and many of the broken pieces inside have healed over the years – I was still holding onto to some of it.
I still didn't have closure.
Life isn’t a fairytale, and sometimes there are no happy endings.
Hell, sometimes there isn’t a clear ending at all.
A few days ago I took a trip to the White Mountains, something I haven’t done since she died. As I pulled into the town and saw her favorite hotel – something burst out of me that I wasn’t even aware of holding onto. I wept as I drove through, and suddenly, something I'd never considered before that moment, came crashing through to my consciousness - there are no outside sources in which to find closure when something traumatic happens.
You have to find it within yourself.
Closure is the conscious decision you make to move on – mostly healed. Closure is when you stop giving whatever it is that hurt your heart: power over your present day and your future. Closure is the moment when you declare, silently to yourself, that it’s time to move on. Closure is when you fully appreciate that sometimes you don’t get final goodbyes or the ability to understand the why of it but decide to open your heart and soul to let the light back in fully, regardless.
Closure is what you get when you make those first tentative steps towards a new day. Changed, yes. Battle weary, of course. Emotionally scarred, damned right. Definitely not the same person you were before. You will have to be brave. You will have to dig deep for a while to feel confident in what you have faced and conquered. Trust me, there will come a day when you realize it’s up to you to close the chapter on what hurt you and you have complete control over ending its ability to do so any longer.
When I got home from my trip to the mountains, I felt something settle inside. I have too much life to live and smiles to the beam. Too much love to share and light inside me to hold on to the darkness any longer. I need to be free from all of it, once and for all. I couldn’t allow the decision she made to end her life – end mine. The closure I have been searching for was in seeing that and knowing that while she was here – I gave her all that I had. Now that she is gone, while I miss her and forever will, my life is far too important to be trapped with the ghosts of a past I can’t change.
I had closure all along. I just wasn’t ready to see it. I am now.
You must release your hold on that which no longer serves your life. For it is within this release that you will write your own ending summing up how you have changed, survived, healed and are now ready to move on.
You will have closure.