What Happens When We Don’t Get Closure


Both these articles need summary paragraphs that link all the ideas into a cohesive whole, an editor once said. She was seeking conclusions that incorporated repetition, culminating in unity.


We met at an internship in October when the leaves began to fall and cover Manhattan’s sidewalks. He embodied a boyish innocence that I craved. He wore fuzzy sweater vests that made me want to forego the data entry and mindless emailing and give him a big hug. He liked Disney and musical theatre and performed on stage. He made me laugh in an effortless sort of way; our banter synced in a succinct rhythm. An inexplicable flow. And since another relationship in my life was unraveling, foreshadowing toxicity, I was drawn to the light energy of this guy. The guy who starred as Corny Collins in a production of Hairspray.

Outside of the workplace, we gravitated towards one another like two magnets. “Every magnet has both a North and a South pole,” I read. “When you place the north pole of one magnet near the south pole of another magnet, they are attracted to one another.” We were like that.

An undeniable ‘click’ was present — the perfect snap. Maybe it was hormonal. Maybe it was chemical. Maybe it was because we had the same Gemini moon sign. Maybe we were both in the right place at the right time. Whatever it was, we aligned, even if it only lasted for a little while.


The editor wanted a clear and concise take-away message. What did we just learn? What are some final words on the subject matter?


When I asked if he was interested in seeing me again, he replied with diversion. He couldn’t seem to address my vulnerability. Questions were overlooked. He’s not emotionally available, and he doesn’t know how to tell me, I thought to myself. Communication gradually ceased; ultimately, the silence was his response. Old insecurities resurfaced, instigating a bout of persistency on my end that created more dust on our pages. Such a hot mess. We burst into flames and our story ended without any resolve. There was no completed puzzle where components aligned, piece by piece. There was no exhale. No breathing out huge sighs of relief that reflected some kind of understanding.


I told her I’d revise the end of those articles. Recapping information and tracing its sequence provides solidarity for readers. It’s tidy. Clean. It’s easier to grasp.


Sometimes, though, we don’t get the closure we hope for. We don’t get answers. And since life is unpredictable by nature, infused with chaos and uncertainty, unfinished endings make sense.

Sentences may be left dangling, marked with an ellipsis. Narratives are open-ended, up for interpretation. Closure can’t always be given to us in heart-to- heart conversations and bold truths echoed by others. We may not see a pretty rainbow appear out of a mist, or tie up a box with a nice, pink bow. We must simply accept the uncontrollable. We have to let go of closure and the comfort it carries, because we may not get it.

And when that happens, when we’re in a situation that doesn’t lend itself to the closure we desire — when it becomes unattainable — we have no choice but to find it within ourselves.