Closure is Not the Goal of Grief

Published on 6/2/2022

When my father passed away, people kept talking about how it would get easier. They told me to keep holding on and just wait. Everyone had a different timeline of when things would supposedly be okay again; six months, a year, two years.

But once again, they were wrong about grief. In September, it will be four years since my father passed away, and I am anything but okay with it. I am living without him, I have reached a point where I can talk about him and not feel like I’m crumbling to pieces, but I am not okay with it, because how could I be? I refuse to be okay with the loss of him because my world would be so much better with him in it.

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t grieved properly or worked through my emotions, it simply highlights that closure is not the goal of grief. You’re not learning to get over someone like you would with a breakup, you’re learning how to live with the loss of them and not let go it.

You want to hold on to them

Death may seem like a clear ending, but that isn’t how it feels when you’re the one up close to it. There’s no clear finish line, because we can’t comprehend the concept of death, the finality of it. I don’t want to ‘move on’ because I can’t fully grasp it’s real. I don’t want to ‘move on’ because whether they’re alive or not, they’re a part of me.

I see my father in the blue eyes that stare back at me in my reflection. I see him in the terrible jokes I tell. I see him in my love for reading, as he was the one who always bought me books. I see him in the way I treat people and how I expect to be treated.

I don’t want closure from him because he’s a part of me, he’s my father whether or not he’s here to see me get older. I want to hold on to as many parts of him as I can, because I have way too little to last me over the years. I got twenty-one years with him, some people get more and others get far less. But I am going to cling to those years and keep him with me.

You don’t seek closure in grief because whether or not someone is here, they’re a part of you, and you’ll hold onto that.

This is actually a comforting thought, as my biggest concern was always losing them and moving on. It felt like that would be a betrayal. But now that I know that grief doesn’t require closure, I can stop worrying that I'll move on.

You find a place for your grief

So instead of moving on, you find a place for your grief. You learn how to carry it best, to ensure that the weight of it doesn’t pull you down but that you never fully let go of it. You find a way to honour and remember them.

I will always think of my father when I look at a beautiful sky. Whether it’s a sunrise or sunset, seeing orange or pink shades in the sky will instantly make me think of him. I don’t know if I believe about people still watching over you, but when I see the sky, I want to believe it’s from him.

I think of him at the major milestones of my life. It’s painful, to look around at birthdays or Christmas, and see that he’s missing. But it’s also a reminder to take a moment for it, to close my eyes and cling to the essence of him.

There is no need to find an end to grief, as it will accompany you until your final days. Instead, you simply find a place for it, a way to carry it without being consumed by it. You don’t seek closure in grief, as your grief becomes a part of you as much as any other trait. I will forever be someone with grief. One day a partner will have to love me with my grief, as I don’t come without it.



Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.

Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.

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