Thursday, February 22, 2007

The ultimate secret is...

So, you really want to know?

I wish that someone would have told me this - several years ago, at the beginning of all of this. Although, now that I think about it... I probably wouldn't have believed them. Like so many others before me, what kept me sane was thinking otherwise. It kept me moving forward when I thought I couldn't go through with it.

I couldn't bring myself to believe anything else. This secret was so counter-intuitive to what I had been told - to what we all want to believe - that it made no sense.

Until the end, that is. Then, suddenly it became crystal clear.

Are you ready? Here it is:

There is no such thing as "closure".

The end.


No, really.

Because, you see, that's it. You don't get to have "closure" on something like this.

The best you can hope for is peace of mind. Knowing that you did everything you could to right a wrong. Feeling secure in the knowledge that you did your duty as a law-abiding citizen. A sense of accomplishment, perhaps.

But you don't get CLOSURE. Because once you have lived through something like this, it becomes all too apparent that CLOSURE is something for the people who stood on the periphery.

I didn't do this - I didn't live through this whole experience for the CLOSURE to begin with. I did what I had to do because it was The Right Thing. I blew the whistle because I had no other choice. She had to be stopped, and she had to be prevented from ever hurting anyone else again.

And yet, it's hard to believe, isn't it? I mean, that's what we are all told. That you must have CLOSURE. The implication is that if you don't get CLOSURE you'll never be able to move on with your life. You'll be hung half-way; neither fish nor fowl, as useful as a spork for the rest of your miserable, CLOSURE-less existence.

Guess what? They're wrong.

Trust me, you don't feel good watching someone - anyone, let alone someone you loved, someone you thought would be by your side for the rest of your life, someone who you trusted so completely, be hauled off in handcuffs, to spend the rest of their life in jail.

You don't even think about CLOSURE at a moment like that. Mostly, you think about where the closest place is you can either [a] go vomit, or [b] get drunk. Or, [c] do both.

And the reality that hits you square between the eyes, is very simply this:

It's never over. You will never get that much-ballyhooed CLOSURE.

There are a lot of reasons - just a few of which are that there is paperwork to be filled out (so that I can be notified and protected if she ever escapes from jail. Because, she will come after me. That much has been made quite clear to all who were in the courtroom during the trial.) There will be the inevitable appeals. Our ADA tells us that the appeals alone could drag out for ten years or more. Eventually, there will be parole hearings, which we will have to attend, and testify at, to insure that she never is allowed to go free.


No. Because it will never really be over. It's now a part of me. Of who I am. I will live with this, with the outcome as surely as she will. No, I'm not being punished - I'm not going to jail. But in a very real sense, my life has changed as much as hers has. It will never be as it was before; I will never be as I was before the trial. My innocence, my faith, my trust, all broken. As time passes, and the daily minutiae of our lives fills my head, I pray that I will have whole days when no thought of this echoes through my mind.

But for now, it is ever-present. I cannot stop comparing my life to hers.

My husband and I are happily married. Her husband is now suing her for divorce, and seeking full custody of all of her children.

I can hug my child any time I wish to; I will be there as she grows up. She will have to wait for visiting days to see her children, and will miss everything important from now on: Proms, graduations, weddings, grandchildren.

I can travel freely - I can go where I please, whenever I please. She cannot, and will not for the rest of her life. Incarceration tends to slow a person down from what I hear.

I live in a modest, but comfortable home. I have carpets on the floors, and curtains on the windows. She lives in a jail cell.

By comparison, my life is full of love, and comfort, and freedom. Her life will be lived essentially devoid of all of those things.



Sadness, yes. To some extent, relief that this part is over. But, closure? No.


Should you ever (and God, I truly and sincerely pray that you don't) find yourself in a similar situation, I want you to remember this:

Screw CLOSURE. Do the right thing, tell the truth, be a good citizen, and then get on with your life. Because CLOSURE doesn't really exist.


And with that, Ladies and Gentlemen... we close this chapter, and safely return you to our regularly scheduled topic for this blog...


Kelly said...


ACTUALLY, I was hoping the ultimate secret had something to do with WHAT this was all about!

Do we ever get to know? After the sentancing? When is this allowed to be public knowledge?

(See, what you don't know is that "Law and Ethics" was my favorite class...your killing me here!)

Suldog said...

"Closure" means different things to different people. For some folks, it is simply having the last word. For others, relief of an ongoing problem. Obviously, for you it means a much more complicated set of feelings and circumstances than can be resolved at the moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, even though it is obviously a painful time for you. You write both movingly and with great clarity. Even though I don't know all of the details, I find myself aching for you to get that "closure".

I think that sometimes it takes longer than you might imagine and occurs when you have given up on it. In any case, you seem to have the strength to handle whatever life throws at you, "closure" or not. Good for you.

Anonymous said...


I don't know if it will ever be "safe" for me to post all of the details here. :( As much as I would like to spill the whole sordid story, to do so would all too easily compromise my RL identity. :(


You are absolutely right. Closure does mean different things to different people. But I think that the big point here is that we (corporately, as a culture) lean on the myth that "closure" can be, and in fact *will be* accomplished easily, just by confronting that person, or just by pursuing them legally, or just saying that you forgive them.

And the reality is, it just isn't that easy.

I try to be a good Christian person; I have *forgiven* this person for what she has done; I fully realize that at the end it is not my job, not my place to judge her. But I am not certain that I will ever be able to forget what she did.

Maybe, just maybe if I could forget, then I would find that mythical closure...

Johnny C. said...

When I was driving to work this morning I suddenly started thinking about this post.

When there is a lack of closure about something in my life I dream about it. Naturally, I have recurring dreams about these situations.

Some have been taken care of and I think that some might always be thorns in my side. I appreciate your insight regarding the subject though.

It gives me a little more peace on the matter.

Chuck said...

Thimbelle, I think in many ways what you say is true. One thing I have experienced is that you can THINK you've moved on and gotten over something, and then discover you really haven't...sometimes events take time before you move beyond them. But if you keep moving forward with your life, you do get to a point where you can view them with better perspective. Although I think you have a very good perspective on the whole issue already. Good luck with everything.

Suldog said...

Hello, Thimbelle:

Maybe this will be cheery for you - you're invited to my virtual birthday party today! Come on over and bring as many guests as you'd like!