Closure. Everyone says they need it in order to move on with the events that will follow the end of something. Whether that something be a relationship, a friendship or somewhere in between or outside those realms, closure is something that as humans we desire when a chapter of our lives is ending. Somewhere along the way, it was decided that in order to pack up, to pick up the pieces and move on with our lives, we needed to get closure on that part of our lives we were saying goodbye to. Tell someone how you feel, say what is on your mind and in your heart and don’t leave anything unsaid. As cliché as it sounds people believe that you need closure because you may never get the chance to say how you feel ever again in your lifetime.
Is it really better to hash out the anger, the frustration, and the emotions? Is that what’s going to make things easier on anyone?
You’ve been through a terrible break up, the kind where there’s no yelling or screaming, there’s just silence in the air. Words are being said but they aren’t being listened to. So many memories are replaying and you’re left wondering how you let it get this far. There aren’t any words to say. The silence fills the room and it’s deafening. That silence speaks however; it speaks a million words a minute. It speaks the words that these two people are afraid to speak out loud. So the silence remains and the words left unsaid remain there, suspended in the air where they will stay.
You walked across that graduation stage and hugged your best friends, promising to stay in touch and vowing to be friends forever. Four years have passed and Facetime calls have become casual text messages that have become once a month check in’s that have now become awkward run in’s at Starbucks because no one can pinpoint where the friendship ended but it has. You say hello and you ask how they’re doing but you aren’t listening to their answer because you’re thinking about how quickly the Barista needs to make your drink so you can get back to pretending like there wasn’t a promise made four years ago to remain best friends. Maybe one of you says you should catch up soon, empty promises that won’t be fulfilled because too much time has passed and you both don’t know how you got here. So you’ll walk away, coffee in hand, leaving words once again at the tip of your tongue, but remaining unsaid.
If you said how you felt, if you took those words out of the air and let them roll of your tongue would you leave people better because of that? Would it help others to hear what made you walk away from that relationship? Would it help others to hear why you think the friendship ended? Maybe you don’t have reasons and there isn’t anything left to say on your end. How do you explain something that you can’t even understand yourself? Do you make up words in order to make the other person feel like you aren’t leaving things unsaid?
Truth is things will always be left unsaid. That’s the way we work. You have this whole plan in your head about how the big conversation will go and then the other person hits you with a response that you didn’t prepare for. You had the script planned out in fourteen different ways, trying to guess what the other person was going to say so that you would know what to say next but they hit you with something you didn’t see coming and now the script is ruined and you don’t know how to ad lib. You leave the conversation feeling no less of a burden on your shoulders than when you got there. As you drive home you think of all the other points you wanted to make and all the other things you wished you told them. It’s too late now; you were supposed to leave it all on the table. Now table is empty and the words remain in your mind.
In the movie version of your life the audience would know the words that you never mentioned. They would get a voiceover of your thoughts as you watched that person walk out of your life for good. In the real life version that person views this situation as over and so do you.
What you didn’t say will remain in your mind and in your heart. You will carry those thoughts and feelings with you throughout the course of your life. You’ll think of this person when you hear a certain song, or watch a certain movie and you’ll be reminded of the good times.
You won’t be reminded of all the things you wish you told them, those things will fade with time. No matter what conversation we have in life, there will always be the lingering thought that we could’ve said or done something differently. I live under the notion that everything happens for a reason. As hopeful and optimistic as that may be, and as hard as it can be to accept under certain circumstances, it’s pretty much always rang true in my life. The closure that we either get or we don’t get from others helps us in the rest of our relationships.
Sometimes it’s better to keep our thoughts and our feelings inside our heads rather than hurt the ones in front of us. Let them believe what they want to believe about how you are doing or why you’ve stopped talking. The story in their head remains there and remains unsaid. It’s probably best if you keep the story in your head as well.