In the aftermath of the media frenzy about the death of Osama Bin Ladin, a single word floats among the many words spoken and printed: “closure.”
What does it mean? Why is it important in a healing process? You don’t need to be a family member of a victim of the Twin Tower attack to know the pains of losing someone we love. At one point or another, we lost loved ones to cancer, stroke, accident, criminal attack, or yes, terrorism.
In my own practice, I noticed that no one is prepared to deal with death. No one. The pain, the grief, the anguish, and the anger that happen after the death of a loved one is oftentimes difficult to deal with. It is no wonder that depression is one of the major consequences of loss and grief.
Sometimes, a death serves a closure by itself, such as when a mother had been suffering from comatose or paralysis for the longest time. The death that comes is a way of ending that difficult journey. But the experience of having a loved one die in the hands of terrorism opens another journey that requires a different level of closure. People want revenge. People want justice. Otherwise, the pain remains.
This was the process of the millions of Americans and people from all over the world. This was a journey that started on Sept. 11, 2001, and ended in Pakistan in the early moments of May 2, 2011 – almost a full decade.
Republican Rep. Peter King said of the family’s victims: “Now they can finally have some sense of closure and some sense of justice.” Mike Low of Batesville, Ark., whose flight attendant daughter died aboard American Airlines Flight 11: “It certainly brings an ending to a major quest for all of us.”
The truth is the memory of the pain will always remain, and the quest for justice and revenge will continue for some. But what a closure experience brings is healing. Finally, the wound is closed and a new life begins.
You try to revisit your own life and identify experiences which brought closure. You will notice that they were significant moments in your path towards healing and wellness. But if you see some experiences – loss or grief – in which no proper closure happened, it might be time to seek for one. As a counselor, part of my task is to help my clients bring closure to experiences such as this.
So I know, based on experience, that you don’t need an external event such as the death of Osama Bin Ladin, to bring closure. You can find the closure within.