Photo of jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Grief – Puzzle Pieces and Falling Apart

It’s okay to fall apart!

Death shatters us on so many levels that our natural reaction is often to try to hold everything together. We try to be strong. We try to stay positive. We try to go on.

It’s totally understandable, and we all do it to a certain extent. The problem is that it doesn’t serve us well to be strong or positive all the time. It doesn’t serve us at all.

We need to fall apart before we can put the pieces back together.

Photo of jigsaw puzzle pieces.

It’s somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle if you can think about it that way.

Someone we love has died and our lives are broken into a million pieces that just don’t fit together right away. It’s like emptying out a box of puzzle pieces and not seeing any picture. All we see are the backs of those pieces, and even at that point we feel quite sure we’ll never get all those pieces to fit together…and there must be pieces missing.

In time, we turn the pieces over, and begin to find a couple of pieces we can put together. We find the corners. We find some edge pieces that at least help us get oriented. We get the edge put together even though there may still be a piece or 2 we haven’t found. Then we begin looking for pieces of the same color, and maybe fit a couple of those together. Later we may discover the pieces we thought went together don’t so we have to start again. And we keep at it until we have all of the pieces where they belong.

Grief is very much like that only in grief we are taking the pieces from one picture and putting them together in a new one. And in grief we have new pieces to incorporate and old pieces to transform. It’s a complicated business, and it takes time, but falling apart is the first step.

Photo Credit: AMA90

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