If you like closure, right about now you hate The Walking Dead.
Usually the story arcs of major--and minor--characters go full circle. Sophia, Carol's daughter, went missing, causing a girlhunt that ended with her emergence from Hershel's barn as a walker. Beth went missing for a number of episodes before turning up captive in a "hospital" and was then shot in the head by Dawn, going directly to dead without passing zombie. Merle went from a rooftop to Woodbury to a prison to killed by the Governor to kill-killed by Daryl.
Even Morgan, after infrequent appearances, has reappeared in a big way: not only is he now a main character, he even had his own, if kinda boring, episode.
But not Glenn -- at least, three episodes later, not yet. He fell off a dumpster and skillfully landed with the dead Nicholas on top of him.
Is he dead? Did he crawl under the dumpster? Did the zombies somehow ignore the fact his face was showing and therefore a buffet item?
Who knows; according to showrunner Scott Gimple, "So I'll say this: In some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn, or parts of Glenn again, either in flashback or in the current story, to help complete the story."
Which of course says nothing substantive about Glenn's fate.
And which drives Walking Dead fans crazy.
But it shouldn't.
Of course The Walking Dead isn't real life. It's a story. Yet aside from speculating as to why fan-favorite Daryl only seems (tonight aside) to appear in most episodes for no more than a couple of minutes -- if you were playing a drinking game where you drank whenever Daryl spoke you'd always be sober -- one of the best aspects of the show is the way it makes you think about what you would do in similar circumstances.
When the world changed, would you have gone full Shane and become a pragmatic hyper-realist, or gone full Dale and embraced your inner moralizing proselytizer? (Granted not a great pair of options.) If you were Glenn, would you have continued to forgive if not forget what Nicholas had done... and tried to do to you? If you were you, would you try to create a safe haven for you and yours by keeping other survivors out, or would you welcome them into the fold even though they may at best ruin your chances for survival and at worst kill you?
Just as is sometimes the case in real life, there are no right answers. There are only your answers. And that's what makes shows like The Walking Dead fun--and even good for you.
"...In particular, interactions in which we're trying to figure out the thoughts and feelings of others. Scientists call this capacity of the brain to construct a map of other people's intentions 'theory of mind.' Narratives offer a unique opportunity to engage this capacity, as we identify with characters' longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers."
And that's why it's okay not to know what happened to Glenn: sometimes we just don't know. The guy you decided not to hire might have turned out to be a superstar; you'll never know. The product you decided to scrap during development might have transformed your company; you'll never know. The decision to take on investors might turn out to be the wrong move; you'll never know.
Once you decide--once you act--you have no way of knowing how the other choices might have turned out. All you can do is move forward and do your best, adapting and revising and pushing on. You can certainly look back... but that reflection only helps you learn from your successes and your mistakes.
Ultimately there are many things you can never know--and that's okay.
So we don't need to know what happened to Glenn, and the show's characters definitely don't need to know. Life isn't that clean. Sure, it's a fictional world, but it's more realistic for those characters to never know whether Glenn is lost, or trapped, or alive, or dead... in the chaotic world they inhabit it would be more realistic for them not to know.
Then Maggie would have to figure out how long she can hang on to hope before she closes that chapter of her life... and deal with being a single mother in the worst possible circumstances imaginable. Other characters would have to decide how supportive they can be, how they'll adapt to the hole Glenn's loss creates in their core team, whether they should have "that talk" with Maggie... the interpersonal storyline possibilities -- which is really what the show is abut -- are limitless.
Then you can decide what you would do if you are Maggie. Then you can decide what you would do if you are another character.
Like University of Toronto emeritus professor Keith Oatley said in the the New York Times, stories are:
"... a particularly useful simulation because negotiating the social world effectively is extremely tricky, requiring us to weigh up myriad interacting instances of cause and effect. Just as computer simulations can help us get to grips with complex problems such as flying a plane or forecasting the weather, so novels, stories and dramas can help us understand the complexities of social life."
Business, like life, is messy. Business is complex, ambiguous, stressful, challenging--there are always more questions than answers. So you take the facts you know, blend in a huge dollop of experience and instinct, and do the best you can.
Because you will never know--and can never control--what could have happened; all you can know is that you will do your best in the face of uncertainty, hesitation, and doubt.