“No, You Don’t Need Closure,” by Stephen J. Forman. The Wall Street Journal, 1/7/2016.
“The reality is that closure is a myth,” says Forman, a cancer physician who should know. He often stays in contact with the bereaved survivors long after the people who initially supported them have moved on. In his experience, closure is unnecessary and never occurs anyway. Life goes on without the loved one, but life going on is not the same as closure. The wound of a loss remains forever.
“Grieving changes the experience of loss, but does not eliminate it, and is not intended to do so,” he says. “To close the memory does not sustain the healing or help in proceeding with life. Such echoes from the past are voices in the present and are sometimes warmly felt.”
One woman had lost her husband to cancer many years ago when both were young. She eventually remarried, raised a family, and built a successful career for herself. She moved on with her life, but did she have closure? No. With eyes full, she said, “I think of him almost every day.”