My heart goes out to all those touched by the loss of the Malaysian jetliner, which is said to have crashed into the Indian Ocean with all lives aboard lost. What agony the families and friends must be feeling, collectively and individually, and how horrible that their grief has been compounded by agonizing days of waiting for word, any word, about the fate of their loved ones.
Now, on the news and in other reports, I’m hearing a lot about “closure,” and how it might be possible, once remnants of the plane are found and possible human remains, too, for family members and others to get “closure.” I feel as if, by saying this, we should think that tangible discoveries will somehow dull loss and assuage grief. But, having suffered many a loss myself, I am more inclined to believe that these proofs of the fate of the airliner and its passengers and crew might provide one piece of the puzzle, but true closure will probably never occur. And, in fact, in any heart-wrenching loss, closure doesn’t really put the lid on grief, either.
A loss is felt in so many different ways and under different circumstances that it’s impossible to go through life afterward as if, completely, the loss never happened at all. As if, by going through the motions of facts, services, and closets and drawers, we can compartmentalize our loss so surely that it won’t re-emerge or hurt again. As if, after a certain timeframe after the loss, the days have passed and the future holds no looking back or feeling the loss. Some in society might think otherwise and expect that a person can get back to “normal” within a certain period of time. But those who have lost a loved one understand that days, years afterward, if we’re honest with ourselves, we think of things we’d like to say to the person who has passed. Or, we regret something and wish we could take it back. Or, we arrive at a milestone in our lives and wish that person were with us to celebrate, too. Those who lost someone on the Malaysian airliner might expect closure, but what they’ll feel for years to come is something else entirely.
Even in the moment of supreme grief, it is possible to laugh, remember fondly, love and have faith. As time passes, we have more moments of these and other positive, affirming emotions. Our spirits are truly resilient, and God is with us all the time, so He brings comfort every day and night. But, closure? Complete and final? I think that it really is a myth.
So, I’ll continue to pray for all those who’ve lost loved ones, whether on the flight or in other respects. Compassion for those who mourn doesn’t have an expiration date, just as grief doesn’t, either.
Blessings for the day,