Closure is something we humans like to think we can achieve at the end of something significant, whether it's a relationship with another person (romantic or otherwise) or a job or project or hobby or something else -- anything that takes up a lot of our attention and energy. Having that great cathartic moment when you hear the other person's admission, or you turn off the lights and shut the door, or you burn the letters and abandon the ashes, is something we crave.
And yet, so often the catharsis never happens. You will never know why he fell in love with her when he was married to you, or which falling domino led to you losing your job, or whether your loved one knew that you had finally come around even though you'd never made time to tell her before she suddenly fell ill and died. At those times, and they are the majority of times, you just have to find a way to cope with your lack of information or understanding. There is no closure and no hope of ever having it.
Most of us learn to cope with this, some way or another. It can be tricky, and we tend to maybe go a little bit crazy for a while sometimes, but ultimately, eventually, we move on. Some people find self-help books to be helpful. Others will smash something in an effort to release the anger or frustration. I've also heard that pawning significant jewelry or items can be great catharsis, compounded by spending the money on something that replaces the bad memory with a good one, like a nice family dinner or a new pair of diamond earrings.
Lately I've been thinking about another way that people can sort of "manufacture" their own closure, by way of a physical release of some sort or other. I've been invited to a releasing ceremony, and I'm considering whether or not it would be something helpful.
One of the guiding voices through my divorce was Elisabeth Corcoran, who was going through hers around the same time. She and the other women in an online support group she founded encouraged me, among many other things, to keep my eyes on God and to do my best to be above reproach through the whole process. Good advice. Now, she's gently coordinating a releasing ceremony for those of us in her support networks to consider. We can choose to release whatever we want, in whatever way we want, whether it's throwing stones into the lake or burning old letters or something else. Or we can just skip it.
I think for many people, something like this could be an act of closure. A lot of the women in these groups are hurting, but I'm wondering if it'd be something useful for me. Astonishing as it is, I feel like I've healed from my divorce. It was a process that began back in November of 2011, so there's been a lot of time for me to get through it. I also recently realized that I brought myself real closure in June as I relived the final days of the charade of my marriage and marked, a year later, the very real, very big steps I took out of that marriage and into a new life. I had a bunch of dear friends over for Independence Day. The cookout was ostensibly to celebrate the holiday, but in my mind it was also a big celebration of this new life.
What I'm getting at with all of this, is that I have already found closure. I began to process some of it earlier, but more and more I'm learning just how far I've come. My divorce is no longer a living, breathing, active part of my life. I don't think of my ex anymore unless something specific comes up. I don't remember the last time I collapsed in angry, overwhelmed tears, fuming "how could he do this to me?" over and over. It barely even occurs to me to refer to myself as "divorced," rather than "single." There's peace and assuredness. I can do this on my own -- I'm doing it on my own -- and I am healed and ready for what's next, whatever that may be.
So as I consider this releasing ceremony, I'm wondering what exactly I need to release. There's still time, and I may participate after all, because I do want to join with my sisters around the world who are letting go of their pain. Maybe solidarity is a good enough reason to go through with it. What do you think? Have you ever done some great physical gesture to manifest closure for yourself? Was it helpful?
If you'd like information on the release, you can learn more here. And if you'd like to be a part of the support groups, leave me a comment or send me an email and I will get you plugged in.