As I sit here with 2 weeks off work on a Thursday afternoon, I was about to pull out the latest puzzle I’m working on and I started thinking about puzzles and how they relate to living after loss.
I have long done puzzles because I enjoy the challenge of putting all the pieces back together exactly as they were when it was a whole picture. It’s satisfying to me.
Living after losing someone important to you is not that unlike doing a puzzle. I mean you start to look around and see the mess of pieces on the floor and say, how the hell am I gonna put all this back together? These pieces need to go back exactly as they were and I don’t know where to start. I have the picture in my mind of how life looked so I know how they SHOULD fit together.
So you start fitting them back together as best you can, but there’s pieces missing, and the picture looks different now. The pieces no longer fit together. No matter what you do, you cannot make the picture look the way it did before the loss. You just can’t. Just like with a puzzle, it gets really frustrating. Just like when you’re doing a puzzle, you need to step back from the way you remember that picture, and look from a new perspective.
Once you do that, you will see new pieces available to you to complete your new puzzle. The new pieces are new people that come into your life, new interests that you start to enjoy, maybe new beliefs enter into the view.
Accepting that your old puzzle will never fit back together again is not easy. There will be many times when you look back on that old puzzle willing those missing pieces to magically appear. There is sadness and guilt when picking up your new pieces. I wish I could say that those feelings disappear with time, but that has yet to be my experience. There are times when you will be thoroughly enjoying the new puzzle you are creating and then suddenly think of that old puzzle and the guilt and sadness are overwhelming. But, there will also be times when you can enjoy looking at both puzzles without guilt or sadness. That I can say is something that does become more frequent over time. So there is always hope.
So, as you start to piece your new puzzle together, try to enjoy that process. The pieces may change as you go along, so don’t get frustrated. Think of it as new challenge, and smile.