I am a creature that craves closure. Maybe it’s due to my obsessive-compulsive need for order, that I want everything wrapped up in a neat package and tied with a pretty bow. In my world, everything has a very distinct beginning, middle, and end – or should, anyway.
I like folks to say goodbye when they leave, be it at a party or a friend going on vacation or moving to another state or a relationship/friendship. It wraps up my time with them, gives me the chance to say that one last thing, make plans for the future, give them one last hug. When I discover that someone has left and I didn’t know it, I feel uneasy. Our time together feels somehow unfinished, incomplete.
It’s like when famous people suddenly disappear. One day you realize you haven’t seen them in a while, and you wonder what happened to them. At least now you can Google them and find out (or watch for them to show up on a reality TV show). But I feel like they should have had one last bow, one last hurrah, one last chance to say thank you, I’m moving on. That one last chance to sum up this phase of their career/life, and start the next.
It’d be easier if I didn’t feel this emptiness when something ends unexpectedly, without the appropriate farewell. I try to resolve the resulting confusion by demanding answers or explanations. In the absence of those answers I analyze it on my own, but that only creates more questions. And leaves me to make up my own answers, which could be right or could be very wrong.
I know everyone doesn’t share this need. I wish they did, because then maybe we’d all put more effort into making sure there were no loose ends. Or I wish I could just let things go without having to know all of the gory details of why and how and when.
My usual solution is to create my own ending. To write a long letter to the person that sorts through all of the minutiae, explains how I feel and how I think they feel and what I think happened and why. And where we go from here. But maybe that bares too much of my soul in a situation that doesn’t warrant it, that it’s needy and dysfunctional. I should just be able to shrug and say, “Oh well, that’s that,” and move on. So I struggle, staring at that blank piece of paper, wondering whether writing that letter is the “right” thing to do.
I guess part of my need for closure is to make sure I understand, and that I’m understood. That what I think and feel and believe and need is clearly outlined, so you know exactly where I stand. That I know where you stand. And that nothing is left unsaid. I’m afraid that there might be one word, one feeling, one thought that could be the key to everything, and if we had just shared that, things might have turned out differently.
Maybe I just think too much.
Anyway, I fear the analytical part of me will always want clear, concise answers. And a clear, concise end to every situation. And the emotional part of me will ache when that doesn’t happen, and continue to yearn for it long after the time for endings and explanations has passed.
There’s a line from a movie that is ratting around my brain, something about “I guess you’re going to have to learn to live with disappointment.” (Or else it’s just something I heard someone say, I have no idea.) I guess I’m going to have to learn to live with loose ends – unless I decide that my closure missives are appropriate and NOT needy and dysfunctional. Until then I’ll be living in limbo, wondering where I go from here…
…looking for that neat package with the pretty bow.