As my retirement from active duty with the fire service draws closer, I discuss the concept of closure.

A word of caution that the following video may contain triggering material for some individuals as I am descriptive about the top three calls that had a profound affect on my psyche during my almost 25 years of service. Please view this at your own discretion.

A couple of years after my story was filmed, I returned to therapy, and this time dealt with the emotional side of my being. It was a tough experience, but I came out more even more balanced as a result of this work.

My Story of Closure

The first part of this story was posted to a private Facebook group I belong to as a published author in a mental health anthology where I give a snapshot into my journey of personal evolution. The book is titled Brainstorm Revolution: true mental health stories of love, personal evolution, and cultural revolution. I shared the following segment with my fellow authors on how closure can present itself in the most unexpected way:

“I want to add an epilogue of closure to the story I shared in the book (concerning the suicide of my friend).  My true healing journey began 5 years ago when I really delved into the spirit aspect of myself.  I have since become a Reiki Master practitioner and also receive regular acupuncture treatments to help me maintain balance.

In recent months we been working to shed the things that have stuck to me (and in me) after over 27 years in EMS, and almost 25 in the fire service – as on May 28th I am going to retire.  I told the acupuncturist that I have always felt that my friend is still around in a protective sort of way.  I also said that I want him to know that he does not need to be with me as I am okay, and his mission here on earth is complete.  She replied “You don’t know that.”   I relented but said that I want closure before I hang up the gear for good.  I asked, and the Universe has provided.

Tomorrow, I am going to speak with a fire academy about cancer prevention and peer support.  As part of my presentation, I speak in detail about what happened on that horrific night in February of 1998.  I can now speak about these events without an issue – however, this time it will be different.   You see, he left behind 3 daughters, one of whom was 5 at the time (I have not seen her in about 10 years).  This little 5 year old girl is now in her 20’s, and will be in this very academy class that I will stand before and deliver my story.

It is my hope that I will finally quiet the echoes in my mind, and as usual, the universe has once again provided a loud and resounding answer to my request”.

When I first heard that his daughter was going to be in this class, I was most concerned about how much in detail she knew about her father’s death. I knew that one of my colleagues (who also responded on that night) was asked to share the entire story.

On the day of the presentation, I asked the lead instructor to bring her into the office so I could double check with her before I told my story. As soon as she saw me, she gave me the biggest hug, and said she was so glad to see me. I explained why I was here to speak to her class, and confirmed that she in fact did know all of the details. I asked her if she would be okay with me sharing my journey, and she said no problem.

Throughout the presentation, she remained steadfast and grounded as I related additional details from my perspective. When I was finished, I gave her a hug goodbye- and then exhaled. I received the closure from this chapter in my life story.

As it would happen, the gym that I am a personal trainer at is the same one that the fire academy does its physical training before class. I ran into her as she was leaving and I asked if she was all good with what I presented the day before. She affirmed that all was well with her, and then we began to talk about other things unrelated to the fire service.

The closure I received came in the most unexpected and beautiful way. No matter what walk of life, as humans we will be exposed to things that may “stick” to or carry with us. Remember this: It is okay not to be okay at any given moment. If you are struggling, I highly encourage you to seek help from a qualified mental health practitioner.

It may turn out to be the best decision you can make – I know it was for me.