Getting Closure After Death

Confrontation and Closure

What is it about dying that turns some people into saints? They could have been a terrible person while living—cruel, uncaring, abusive—but the second they have no pulse they become this wonderful person the world won’t be the same without. There is that old adage, “Don’t speak ill of the dead,” but what if the “ill” that’s being spoken is the truth?

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A friend of mine recently buried their parent, and when I say “parent,” I use the term to only mean that they created another human life form. There was nothing parental about this person. Other than being a narcissist, they couldn’t ever find the time to bond with their children. There were no trips to the zoo, no homework help, no words of encouragement or comfort. Their parent drank excessively and was both verbally and physically abusive to their spouse and children. But when this person died, their youngest child gave a eulogy that seemed to be meant for the parent they wished they had, rather than the one they actually had.

Mixed Feelings

It was almost more than my friend could bare, as they watched their youngest sibling share anecdotes about the person who was very much a villain in my friend’s life. My friend had mixed feelings—they didn’t want to cause more suffering by expressing their feelings about their parent to their loved ones, especially when they were in deep mourning. But my friend also had feelings that were real and needed to be expressed.

Confrontation and Closure

When someone passes away, the hurt they have caused doesn’t get buried with them—unfortunately. Real people, with real feelings are left behind and now they feel like they no longer have an opportunity for confrontation and closure. But the alternative is not to swallow or bottle up those feelings. They shouldn’t be hidden away. They also shouldn’t be allowed to fester. It’s best to work through them. If you’ve ever been in this situation, consider these actions.

1. Review the Relationship
Take some time to review your relationship with the deceased—from your earliest memories to where you left things right before they passed away. Can you name one good thing about the person who has passed away (other than the fact that they have passed away)? Do you have any positive memories of them? Is there one defining experience that caused you to have negative feelings towards them? How has knowing them shaped your life or how you see the world?

2. Start a Conversation
Think about someone who may be receptive to your feelings. It could be a family member, friend, therapist, religious leader or psychic—just pick someone you feel safe being honest with. Don’t hold back or sugarcoat! Did anyone else connected with the deceased let you down? If they enabled them, don’t forget to mention them too! You’re doing this to get the validation and closure you need.

3. Write a Letter
Some of us are better at expressing ourselves through the written word, and if that’s you, you can write a letter to the deceased. The good news is, they can’t interrupt you. Say whatever you want; include your account of your relationship with them and how their actions impacted you. Also express what kind of relationship you would like to have had with them. When you’re finished you can bury the letter near their grave, tear it up into little pieces and drop it in a body of water, or you can burn it. These are all symbolic ways of releasing the negative feelings you’ve been feeling all these years.

4. Take a Conscious Step Forward
Consider the relationship closed and take a conscious step forward. This means that you will actively keep those negative feelings and that negative relationship from impacting your future. This may be difficult at first, but as time goes on, it will get easier. It’s a healing process after all. Go forward and love—yourself and others—and give what was not given to you.

6 thoughts on “Getting Closure After Death

  1. Beth

    My brother passed this past September and the knock on the door we’d been expecting for years finally came! The law was at my mom and my front door to finally tell us he was gone! They found him dead in a hotel room of a heroine overdose. I’m the oldest of three! My sister passed in February of 2012! And then I was left to take care of our mom! I made her a promise on her death bed I’d take care of our mom and look out for her 2 kids! And I have! You see my little brother and I use to do drugs together! And the 24th of this month it was my 5th year sober! It was so bad before he died with the stealing and lying and all the money paying his way and getting him out of jail, etc! And it caused arguments between my mom and me because she would enable him and it would upset me because I knew what it would take for him to even try to get better! I thank the Lord that he and I text eachother apologizing and telling eachother how much we really did love and care about eachother! I read it all the time! It’s so comforting most times! Here’s where I need to contact him? There was a girl that was there with him in the hotel room! I’ve had her name, picture and all the information about her from my friends that found this info out and came to me with it! I want to know why she watched my brother lay on the floor for over 30 minutes and did nothing to help him or even call 911? And why this girl wasn’t questioned and never went to jail? I want to know if my anger is validated towards this girl for shooting him up and then geeking so bad that she was too messed up to do anything to help him!!!! And she just stood by until a good friend of my brothers showed up and saw my baby brother lying on the floor and asked her how long he’d been there and she said about 40 minutes and she left! She could’ve saved his life and didn’t even try!!!! I have to know and know in my heart that there was nothing she could’ve done and she at least tried? I think of it everyday! Thank you so much for the help and I’m going to try and reach him with your suggestions and hopefully get some peace in my heart and move on and cherish him in his memory! God bless this journey please!

    Reply
  2. Kat

    I thought this article would help me with the losses of my father and nieces. They were beautiful people this is NOT what I wanted to read. Now I’m even more depressed. Thanks for nothing

    Reply
    1. dmarantzdmarantz moderator

      Hi Kat,
      This article is for people who have had strained relationships with deceased family/friends. You don’t seem to be one of those people.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Elaine

    Thank you on death ! I have lost over 20 in 10 yrs ! Family and Friends ! This will help me release their negative Energy clinging to me thank you it feels like I have a curse, actually it is. Working on it now very important time of my life. My astrological chart is off the walls . September 9, 1955 1215 at night Very big ! But this horrible dark negativity is working extremely hard on stopping these things. Have enlisted help, with other psychics for spiritual and soul cleansing and doing my work. Any suggestions thank you

    Reply
    1. dmarantzdmarantz moderator

      Elaine,
      It’s true that the negativity doesn’t stop once someone has died. I wish you the best and suggest you try some of these activities to let go of the negative influence. It’s hard work, but your happiness is worth it!

      Thanks for reading!

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