Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Search for Closure

Many years ago when I was quite young, I met someone with whom I felt a particular kinship.  He was a Vietnam Veteran, and over a cup of green tea, I sought to understand what he had done and why.  I had thought of Vietnam in terms of policy and political reasons, but perhaps not in terms of the humanity of those who were there.  He said very quietly and simply,
"I was 18 years old.  I thought it was what I was supposed to do."
He was diagnosed with terminal cancer as a very young man, possibly a result of exposure to chemicals in Vietnam, and I never saw him again.  I said to my friend that I needed closure.  She quietly and simply replied,
"Sometimes, you just don't get closure."
 It seems as if there are more of those events looming ahead in the coming years.  Sometimes, you just don't get closure.  There are losses, and although we might seek it, closure, a sense of completeness, can elude us, or at least, it does me.  It is hard at times to not attribute something to ulterior or sinister motives, and I constantly am reminding myself It is what it is, even those times I am tempted as Dad said, to believe "Sometimes, it is what is just seems like it is" which more and more, I am thinking meant we don't always know what is, we know only the illusion of what we think it is.  It is complex and cruel in a time of grief and the losses that seem to be stacking up faster than I can figure out what to do with them.

My great-grandpa came to Texas in 1908, when Grandpa was an 8-year old boy, and settled in Proffitt, Texas on the edge of a creek.  He would grow up there, along with his sister and brothers.  My dad would grow up there, with his sister and brothers, on a small plot of land next door to the home place.  For many years now, the home place has not been the home place--it was sold off long ago, though Grandpa sometimes worked for wages on it, plowing, often after having already put in a full day at the sand & gravel plant, and commuting 2 hours a day as well.  I had always thought this little plot of land where my grandparents lived and where I spent much of my life as a child and a considerable amount as an adult was what was left of the home place.

In actuality, my grandmother had bought this little piece next door to what had previously been the family land.  Family land.  I remember how bereft I felt when my maternal grandparents sold their farm and moved to town.  My dad wanted to buy it, but Papa would not sell it to him.  He said he could not consign us to the same fate he had experienced trying to scratch out a living on that old rocky hill.  Instead, he sold it to one of the locals who already owned a gazillion acres around there.

Now, there is another sense of feeling bereft because a little rocky hill is gone.  At least with Papa's, I could see it coming.  It is far different to know you are about to fall downhill than it is to have the rug pulled out from behind and you are falling without knowing why, not having seen it coming.

Like everything else that has ever happened in my life, I know I will cope with, deal with, move through, and eventually heal from all that is happening with the rapidity of a shooting star.  I have resilience.  But in those few moments when it seems like you are on that hurtling mass of rock streaking across the sky, it is a hard ride.  Maybe I try to make sense of things that have no logic, they just are, and you cannot make it mean anything other than it is, and it is something which you must accept is, and let it go.  Because, after all, how can you hold on to something that is not yours anymore?

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