I like jigsaw puzzles. A lot. Cody used to do them with me. For about 30 minutes. Then he was bored with it, just like every other individual living in my house, but Cody usually held out longer than the other 3. I didn't mind having to go solo with my puzzle fixation. I have always found puzzles relaxing and oddly satisfying.
My family (specifically Troy) used to find it fun to hide one piece from me. Just one. Anyone who does puzzles knows how crappy that little joke is. It gives a person GREAT PRIDE to slide that final piece in to place, run your hand across the smooth, complete puzzle surface and beam with satisfaction. You can't do that when someone hides the last piece. I have gone DAYS without being able to finish a puzzle because someone hid a piece. A few times they didn't even give me the piece to finish it, they just quietly put the last piece in place. So funny.
I have a strategy when I put puzzles together. First I put the side pieces together, completing the frame. Then I group all the pieces together that will likely go in a specific place by looking at the picture on the box. I'm pretty good at puzzles and have a hard time walking away from one once I've started. The more difficult, the more pieces, the better. Have you ever been in the middle of a puzzle and come to a point that you are tying to find one specific piece to finish off a section that will lead to the next section? I have a bit of OCD when it comes to this and my mind won't allow me to just move on until I find. that. one. piece. Just about the time I'm ready to walk away from the table for a break, I find it. My motivation to press forward skyrockets just from finding that one piece and suddenly the break I needed so badly doesn't seem so important anymore.
After Cody died I downloaded a puzzle app on my phone. It started as a way to distract my mind from the sorrow I felt as I tried desperately to fall asleep each night. This app forced me to change my strategy on how to do puzzles....it only allows you to work on a specific section at a time, not the whole puzzle at once. It bugged me at first. Okay, it kind of pissed me off given my current frame of mind and I almost deleted it. But I pressed on since Solitaire wasn't working anymore. I eventually started to see this app as an analogy of my life right now. I'm being forced to participate in something I once enjoyed in a way that is not comfortable, wanting so badly to look ahead and put the pieces of the frame together and fill the rest in as quickly as possible. And the app itself completely drains my battery. My grief is very much like the struggle with this app. Trying to figure out a new strategy, looking for something familiar but fumbling through the process. Wanting to just put things back together in lightning speed the way I am used to, feeling emotional about the change, and all the while having no energy to do any of it.
Nothing about Cody's death is familiar. It will never be comfortable. But I will keep putting the pieces in their rightful place, watching the bigger picture unfold and make sense again. It seems like a 250 piece puzzle turned in to a 5000 piece solid colored puzzle with no edges that I got at a yard sale with suspicions that there are multiple pieces missing. I know for sure my family will help with this one. It may take months. It may takes years.
But one thing is certain.
I'm going to have to face the reality that one piece of this puzzle will always be missing.