Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Myth of Closure

I was listening to a news story on television this morning in which the reporter was yet again saying that a family would finally have "closure" about their daughter's death when her killer was executed and I immediately thought how wrong she was. I've thought this every time I've heard such a story, whether it's about a case like this or a burial or finding the body of someone missing. Yes, it closes a chapter; something is finalized, but there is never "closure" on the death of one's child. The loss is always there. Something might have finally ended, some wait for "justice" or finding a body, but the endless questions of why will always remain and "justice" will not bring back the dead. There is no such thing as closure for the family. Perhaps there is for the justice system and there press, but not for the family. No answer will ever be sufficient. No legal revenge will ever wipe out the hole in a mother's heart.

Leif did not die by someone else's hand and we are not waiting for law enforcement to find his killer or bring someone else to justice, but for us, too, the endless questions and loss remain. Closure will never happen. The best any of us can hope for is a gradual fading of the acuteness of grief and loss to the point where it doesn't dominate our lives. It will never be gone.

This photo of Leif was taken at the Manhattan Kansas City Park pool in July 1976. Leif was 18 months old. He is wearing a little terrycloth bathrobe I made for him, In those days, I sewed many of the clothes for the boys and me.

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