We had one roller coaster of a year. People are so glad it is over. I think one of the hardest things for me has been the lack of closure. This is one of the Merriam Webster definitions “: an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality victims needing closure”. I kind of thought the year was ending on a bit of closure with the vaccines. However now there is news of a new strain of the virus. We are still left with many unknowns and I’m rethinking closure.

The last time I went out to for dinner and dancing was at a Bloomington VFW. Little did I know it would be my last big dancing social event of 2020. It was crowded. I remember directing my dance partners to the edge of the floor where there were fewer people. I don’t like being stepped on. I also remember when sitting being a little irritated at the people who were standing right in front of us. They were blocking our view of the band. After all, we had gone early specifically for a good table. Now I so want to be able to be surrounded by a crowd of people, view or not. If I had known what was to come, I would have had much more appreciation for this ordinary winter evening.

Both my parents died suddenly. My mom from alcohol poisoning due to chronic alcoholism and my dad from a heart attack. I never got the closure of telling them goodbye. This is why I feel so very deeply for those who due to the virus are not able to say goodbye to loved ones. Some of us have been in relationships where someone leaves suddenly. If we can’t make sense of the reason of their leaving it can be harder to move on. When some one leaves and won’t talk about it, that can be extremely difficult. The term when someone suddenly stops emailing or texting now is called ghosting. it is so common even the New York Times has written articles about how to cope when you are ghosted. Many of us have lost jobs due to layoffs or a business suddenly closing the doors. We develop bonds with clients and coworkers so again tough when we can’t say goodbye.

My grandmother raised me and was the most loving stable person in my life however a bit smothering and overbearing. I traveled for work. She would start calling me three days before the trip. This was to inform me I could not travel due to some mild weather condition predicted 100 to 200 miles away from where I was going. When I got back home there would be 5 messages on my answering machine. They were all asking me to call as soon as I got back. This somewhat irritated me so I would sometimes wait an hour and unwind before calling back. She fell while standing on a chair, hit her head and needed brain surgery. After almost losing her, after a trip I would run to the payphone at the airport and tell her I was back. (It was a while ago do you remember payphones?) When she died a few month later it was not easy. I was so glad I had the extra time when she was with me to show her appreciation. This gave me some closure to our relationship.

As we leave 2020 I have an appreciation for all the many things I took for granted. (Not grocery stores, that’s one thing I disliked and am really glad I can shop online.) Dancing, movie theaters, live concerts, parties , I’m sure you have others. Lonna Mosow is a fitness expert in the Twin Cities. Every training class I took from her she said “Workout like this is the last class you will ever take.” Such good advice I did not follow.

The last book club when we met in person was February. The discussion of The Rent Collector by Camron Wright was over and many left. A few of us stayed late for a relaxed non book discussion. I had to get up early, but something said stay. Now that is one of my most cherished memories of 2020. Just sitting around with good friends in a cozy living room for casual talk. It is still unknown if when we can safely be near others so very I’m thankful we have technology that connect us. I’ve read that no one can give us closure, it is something we must create for ourselves. This quote has made me rethink closure.

“Closure. This was a word that humans used a lot. They told themselves there had to be some sort of ritualistic ending in order to close the chapter and move on, but I wondered if chapters ever really closed, because each one was dependent on the one before.”
― Jacqueline Simon Gunn, The Cat Who Ate His Tail