Generous Orthodoxy  

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The offense of "closure"

The wrenching triple-murder and rape case in Cheshire, Connecticut has riveted attention in this area, and probably the whole country. One of the two perpetrators received a death sentence yesterday. Christians, I believe, should oppose the death penalty in all cases, period--but as one of the jurors said, if there was ever a clear-cut case where it should be used, this was it.

Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the horror that killed his wife and two children, spoke before the TV cameras after the verdict. I wrote down some of what he said:

"People who talk about 'closure' are idiots...I was offended when someone asked me if the death sentence had given me 'closure.' There is no 'closure'...[he then evoked the living images of his two daughters, burned to death in their beds, ages 11 and 15]....there will never be 'closure.' It's a hole in your heart, a hole surrounded by jagged edges. Maybe over time the jagged edges will smooth over a little bit, but the hole is still there and will always be there."

Cokie Roberts, who lost her beloved sister to cancer, said the same thing some years back--she also was offended by the idea of closure and spoke energetically against it. Wouldn't it be a good thing if the clergy and others who are involved with pastoral care led the way in rejecting this misbegotten term?