As I wave goodbye to another summer, I cannot help but find myself thinking about closure.
We’re so used to saying hello and goodbye to situations that we come across in our lives, but it’s that gray area that gets me. The thing that happens to us after our hellos and goodbyes are said and done. I think that’s what closure is, but I’m still not sure on how to attain it or even if I ever will.
I’ve always known that one of the triggers that pushed me to start writing was the hope that it could help me find the insight my mom could no longer give me after she passed away. I guess I figured that if I wrote about my experiences and what I took away from them, then maybe that could compensate for not being able to sound them off my mom.
Maybe that’s why I find myself writing about my other relationships too.
I am 20 years old, and have been dating since I was 15. I have only been in two long-term committed relationships and yet, they still take a toll on me. I still have what I call the “boyfriend boxes” hidden in my room with all the belongings of that relationship. And as I am literally and figuratively packing up and moving on from another summer, I cannot help but ask myself– why? Why do I feel the need to keep these things? The things the other side of this equation probably let go of a long time ago.
And then it hit me– closure.
I’ve been stuck in that gray area because I haven’t found closure yet. It takes two people to say hello and goodbye, and while I may never get closure from my mom’s passing, the other people who have said goodbye to me in my life could have helped– but they chose not to.
I keep the “boyfriend boxes” around because those belongings are the only connection I have left with the people who wholesale deleted our history from their life. And while I thought that was petty of me, the other day I received photos of my mom and her ex-boyfriend. Photos taken when my mom was my age. Photos with love letters written on the back.
Sometimes we have to create our own closure.
Whether that means cutting out whatever is bringing us down, or whether it means holding onto whatever good is left in goodbye.
My mom most likely didn’t keep those pictures because she was stuck in the moment that was photographed, but merely because she was choosing to keep the good parts to carry with her in life, and let the bad go.
I know she must have kept those photos as only a memory of good times gone by, and though admirable, those photos are just one more unanswered question in her story that I’ll never know.
But here I am, staring at her photos– staring at her past, while looking for closure from my past all over the place. Searching to fill the void from the lack of closure that I will never get from one of the most important relationships in my life, the one beyond all the past boyfriends – the one with my mom.
I haven’t learned how to let relationships go yet.
And maybe the first step is with my mom.
I try at all costs to avoid using the “dead Mom” card when justifying any one of my tendencies, but clearly it is more applicable than ever. And I need to stop looking at it as playing the “dead Mom” card because it is unavoidable. I have been left with a permanent question mark in my life since she passed away. And that’s okay.
So naturally when other relationships of sorts end, I cannot help but search for the other unanswered questions in my life. But the ultimate lesson I have to learn is that maybe I’m searching for answers where there aren’t any questions marks.
And accepting that perhaps I’m the one holding myself back from letting go is a type of closure in and of itself.
Photo by the lovely & literally, darling, Nico Nordstrom.
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I lost my mom at 20 and I am now 26. I have learned the void will always be there, at least a little. I think of my heart as having a finite amount of space. Every aspect is filled by relationships with others. Relationships with your family, friends, significant others, pets, and yourself. When my mom first died, the hole was huge. I had allocated a significant amount of space to my mom of course because she was the pillar that held my life together. My friends and my dad and my brother, etc, took up less space then. Now I have formed stronger bonds with all of the above. I formed even stronger relationships with each of my friends, allowing them more space in my heart. I became very close with my aunt and also my moms best friend. The hole is much smaller these days.
Still there are moments where others cannot fill the void. A broken heart really needs a mom. In those moments, I allow myself space to be sad and remember that “this too shall pass,” and it always does.
I also lost my mom six years ago. You would think that the more time passes, the easier it becomes, but it doesn’t necessarily. Because I don’t think the obstacle is making the situation “easier”, but rather becoming more acquainted.