The puzzle pieces of our new life

I heard my daughter tell a friend, “Puzzles are the only holiday tradition we have.”

Wow, I suppose that’s true in a way.  After her dad died in 2004, I have tried to make the holidays special each year, but haven’t found anything the sticks year after year except our ritual of buying new jigsaw puzzles, bringing out the card table, and setting up for evenings of puzzling.   As we sat down the other night, I wondered about this tradition since our loss – the satisfaction of seeing the beautiful images unfold before our eyes as we fit the pieces together, a symbolic road map through grief.  Michael’s death brought a sense of chaos and uncertainty to our lives — the pieces didn’t fit in the way they had.  Not much about the holidays made sense to me, either.  What got us through year after year was the patient step by step, trying and failing, trying again and succeeding, bringing a chaotic mess of little pieces into something organized.  And now, I’d say that life does make sense.  This year we picked easier puzzles and we’ve already completed two.  I suppose the easy puzzles reflect that life is easier this holiday season.  We are blessed to have each other and a tradition that has helped us through this difficult time of year.