Why This Healing Expert Doesn't Believe In 'Closure'

Speaking from experience, Elizabeth Lesser says that closure detracts from the "gift of grief."

In the time following a tragic or painful loss, people typically search for one thing: closure. In our society, closure is thought of as the powerful antidote to grief ― the universal way to heal. But, speaking from experience, author Elizabeth Lesser has a completely different perspective about this common coping mechanism.

“I don’t like that word,” she tells Oprah during an interview on OWN’s “SuperSoul Sunday.” “It’s my least favorite word: closure.”

Having lost her sister to lymphoma in 2015, Lesser says that moving on from a death is something we are expected to do too quickly. The reality, she asserts, is that it’s important to learn to live with your loss, not “overcome” it. In fact, Lesser cautions against seeking closure entirely.

“To the extent that you’ve loved, that’s the extent that you want to keep your heart that open ― even in grief,” she explains. “Because that’s where you connect with the person.”

Making peace with a loved one’s passing takes time, Lesser adds, and there’s importance in remaining open as the process unfolds.

“People are afraid to stay open, because maybe it’ll hurt,” she says. “But the gift of grief is that you stay connected.”

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