Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Getting Closure

Last night I dreamed I was lecturing at a conference of people on African-American culture. I was discussing my views on death and bereavement and comparing my observations of African-American grief to the generally accepted stages of grief described by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. I not only lectured once, but came back for encores the second day of the conference. It was pretty wild. The only strange part of the dream was that when I went looking for the ladies room, both men and women were using the restroom (think Ally McBeal) and two of the four toilets were out of order. Odd.

I've been able to obtain some sense of closure since being back in my old stomping grounds. Normally, closure is something we hear thrown about because of its common usage during the last two decades in the psychology circles, but what does closure mean, really? All I can tell you is that you know it when you feel the little "click" in your soul.

Part of recovery was learning to make amends. This is principle six in Celebrate Recovery and is Steps 8 & 9 in AA and other 12-step programs. Though I did a personal inventory (and was supposed to be doing a daily inventory after that) during my step study, I was missing a lot of people to whom I owed amends.

I started making some amends two weeks ago and am continuing to do so. When I left here, I left a mess behind me in almost every sense of the word. My two-week vacation turned into 8 months, right on the heels of Stef's death. I can't say I was thinking all that clearly at the time. Who could? But I knew that I wanted to be with D with all my heart. It seemed like the right thing to do, no matter how I looked at it.

But then things got worse. I threw the divorce lawyer at my then-husband and refused to talk to him. I was listening to some other people and not to my heart. I made things terrible for him. That didn't last forever, but it hurt him. He was always my best friend and my - well - my best friend! He didn't deserve what I did to him. And my son didn't deserve to have his mother disappear and leave him to deal with his emotions, his own pile of crap, and the animals.

I can say these things now, because I feel I have made my amends. They have forgiven me and have moved on. Each of them survived and are doing well. When I realized all this and got the forgiveness from them, I felt that "click" in my soul. Now I can feel better about my own life moving forward because I am no longer dragging the weight of guilt along with me. As anyone who has been forgiven knows, the apologies may be hard but they are so worth it. The air is cleared and the truth shines through.

So I have closure, my friends, at least in this area. I will continue to try to maintain that daily inventory again. It really does help if you make amends quickly and without reservation. Guilt is a bitter mistress.

Now, if I only knew where to show up for that African-American conference, I'm sure I'd be brilliant! ;-)

Peace - D


Mental P Mama said...

Oh, it is a click...what a wonderful analogy! And I'd bet that conference is coming your way!

Maggie May said...

I am so pleased for you. Grief can affect us in pretty awful ways and can cloud the mind. Forgiveness is great.

Nuts in May

Syd said...

I'm glad that you moved forward. My amends were made when I felt ready both emotionally and spiritually. And it was such a relief.