Gaining closure. Easier said than done. Gaining closure from a relationship without the other person’s participation? Damn near impossible. Or so it seems. But this piece is intended to shed some light on how we, as sensitive beings with the sacred and painful gift of free will, can move towards closure without another person’s involvement.
Sound incomprehensible? Read on.
Now, first let me qualify “relationship.” By this I don’t just mean romantic partnerships. I mean any relationship had between human beings. Friendship, family, marriage, dating, work associations, childhood bonds, acquaintanceships, crushes, even toxic back-and-forth type connections. No matter how fleeting or lengthy an encounter was, ending relationships of any variety and duration can be tricky business.
I’ve written a lot here on this blog about relationships ending, moving on, making peace with endings. But what about the endings we didn’t plan for? We experience loss and the end of relationships for many different reasons. It’s not always a neat, mutual parting, tied with a bow. In fact, it rarely is.
What about when relationships end because of infidelity, rejection, sudden change of heart? What about death? Sometimes relationships end unexpectedly, irrevocably, and a conversation either isn’t offered or perhaps isn’t even physically possible. So what then? How do we process and move on?
Recently I’ve had two separate (and as polar opposite as can be, as far as breeds of partnerships go) relationships of different lengths and contexts, end. Actually, one has been over for quite some time, but I’m only now processing the ending of the friendship, and actually more through dreams and random thoughts than intentional thinking. The other ended abruptly and, heartbreakingly, On a physical level, it was a natural ending. On an emotional level, on a heart level, it was almost as if it ended without my consent.
I’ve reached out to one of these two people. Crickets. No response. Is there anything more frustrating in the world than one heart that yearns so deeply to thread together some semblance of completion to a ragged and jagged hemline, and another heart whose beating can’t even be heard from behind the wall that separates them? Than a friendship that spanned oceans and years and growing pains and celebrations, a friendship whose shooting star quickness constructed memories that now lie glossy in printed photo books but are fossils in real life? It’s strange. It’s haunting.
Even though I moved away from both of these relationships, I instigated the separation, even though I wouldn’t have written the endings the way they occurred (blast that pesky free will business), it really matters not. They ended. That’s the fact of the matter. And what am I left with?
EXACTLY WHAT I HAD WHEN I STARTED.
I am left with myself. My heart. My Spirit. My intellect. My yearning for human connection. The lessons I gained from these respective connections, tucked into the pockets of my soul, buttoned up beneath my heart and protected by its warm, pulsing beat.
So I guess the answer to how we find closure and peace around a situation whose ending we did assign our approval, all comes back to ourselves. Every relationship occurs as a learning opportunity. I believe everything is preordained. I believe we meet the people we meet, that we form friendships and fall in love and experience discord with certain people for very Divine reasons. I believe, as I’ve written before on “letting relationships end”, that not everything is meant to last forever. That sometimes we learn more from a six-week encounter than from a six-year encounter. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes I think we learn more from a fiery, passionate, star-crossed love affair than we do a faultless romance that just cools down and tapers off. Not always, but sometimes. And man, do we have a lot to learn from the “sometimes’.”
My best answer to the question I myself posed at the start of this essay is this: all we ever have is ourselves. We have experiences with other human beings of the most amazing, glorious, wretched, wrecked, mind-blowing and heartbreaking sort so that we can better understand ourselves, our own hearts, and how to love more fiercely, fearlessly and furiously than we could have without them. When a relationship ends without our permission, it is a sacred reminder from the Universe to never hoard our love, to never mask our emotions and to never wait. It is a whisper from the cosmos to act now, to be authentic, to never play games. Someone can be taken from us or leave us at any point; someone can fall in love and then change their mind; someone can adore your friendship and then, simply, stop. We have control over our own thoughts, bodies, minds, actions and capacity to love. But that is all. We cannot control the world around us (no matter how often, and aggressively, we attempt to convince ourselves of the contrary) and the sooner we realize this, the more ownership we take over own lives.
So we cope. We offer ourselves what we’d offer the one we love most; solace, support, comfort. We can write a letter we’ll never send, fill it with words the other person will never read. We can weep and then laugh; we can spill the contents of our heart into a jar, bottle it up, and send it out to sea. We can let the beauty of our experience shatter us, we can really feel what it feels like to suffer a loss outside our control. We can empty ourselves of the confusion and pain and frustration by feeling it, by really being in it. Holding space for it, staying present with it, and letting it run through us – like the wild, threatening river that it is. That’s all we can do. Because life has a plan, and it doesn’t always match ours, but that doesn’t mean that anything that’s happened to us didn’t happen exactly as it was meant.
We can dream and think about and remember people we once knew all we want…we can attach whatever meaning to that longing sensation that we will, but it is always going to be our own projection. Which means we have the power to offer ourselves closure. Peace. Conclusion.
Everything we think and believe is a projection of our mind. Thus, our sweet, well-to-do hearts can rest in the power of the mind that thinks itself ruler. Because we can tune that station as we will. We can close the page, gently and with reverence, on a relationship whether or not it ended the way we “wanted” or “expected.” Because we have the insight, and the free will, to caption our own still shots. It doesn’t have to be “UNTIMELY ENDING.” Things that happen are always timely, no matter how difficult it may be to see in the moment. Someone not returning our calls or simply disappearing from our lives actually makes us way stronger than having all the answers. It provides us the opportunity to answer for ourselves, to write the ending for ourselves.
No matter the context, no matter the collateral, we master our own ships. We pen our own epics. We – every, single, time – have permission to write the ending.