CLOSURE….. I have come to dislike that word. So many people use it. You hear cops, doctors, family and television use that word. The family needs closure. I want closure. If I just know who did it, or what happened, or if we just find the body, or if the suspect gets convicted…. THEN I/we/they will have closure. NO I say they won’t. Let me explain WHY I say this. To say someone will have closure at some point after the loss of a loved one indicates that the living will be able to say I got my answer and now I am done grieving and will move on. As someone who has lost many friends and family, including both of my parents, I don’t believe there is any answer a loved one can receive that will bring THAT much relief. I also, at least for myself, do not believe someone ever stops grieving. We may reach a point in which we stop allowing our grief to control our life. We may reach a point where we are now able to get up, go out into the world and move forward but that does not mean we are done grieving. My mother has been gone for over 10 years now, but I still miss her, and some days I truly grieve for her – and yet I am finally at a place I can go through boxes I packed up after she died, see memories, see things written in her handwriting, and once in rare instance come across an article of clothing that has been packed away in such form that I can still smell my mom’s perfume or more often her cigarettes, and it makes me smile sadly at the memory it invokes, but I no longer curl up in a fetal position and cry.
It is my personal and professional opinion that there is no set time for grieving. Is it possible to be locked in your grief to the point of it being unhealthy – of course, but I hate when someone tells a grieving person that it has been long enough and the need to “get over it”. Please do not criticize, or judge a person who is grieving. Do not ask them what will give them closure, because I believe there is no true “thing” for anyone that completely provides closure.
Grieving to little is just as bad. I say this because if you just shove those feelings deep into the back of your mind and force yourself to move on and not think about then someday, one day, I assure you – you will crack and shatter, and it will not be pretty.
When I would speak with families during the process of my investigations, I would tell them to take their time and do not be hard on themselves or on each other. Everyone grieves differently. If you have lost more than one loved one, you will likely grieve differently with each. It also matters how you find out about the loss of your loved one. For those of us (yes including me) have been the one to find your loved one dead from a traumatic event, such as suicide, homicide, decomposed, etc., it is even more traumatizing than being at the bedside in a hospital or being told after the fact. Once you see your loved one like that, you cannot flush the vision out of your mind. Eventually you can go days, weeks, maybe even months without thinking about it, but it will come and go and it will never go away completely. I would always discourage and sometimes prevent family members who would come to the scene from seeing their loved one in a bad way. Working a job like mine made my grief harder to push past.
In closing I beg of you to please be supportive to those who grieve and if/when you (the reader) are grieving, please seek a support group or someone you trust if you need to talk about it. Don’t keep it all inside and wait until you explode. Do something that helps you. One thing I did was make a memorial garden for my parents. My husband made a beautiful wooden bench and I can sit and “visit” my parents anytime as they both have engraved granite urns that have been placed in the garden. My cousin had a star named after my mom. There are little things you can do to honor and memorialize your loved ones.