Jigsaw Puzzles

As a kid, I would occasionally do jigsaw puzzles.  As one gets older, the challenge becomes doing more challenging puzzles with lots of pieces.  The worst was when someone (or some tail) would destroy your progress or spill the pieces everywhere.  Right now, my heart feels like that.

I keep gathering up my million-piece jigsaw puzzle, picking out the edge pieces, and whoosh, something scatters them again – a “miracle” pregnancy, a quick remarriage, now Christmas without my kids.  So, right now, I am sitting here trying to gather the pieces again.  I also suspect that when I do gather all the pieces there will be some missing. After all, you can’t give your heart to someone for 14 years and expect them not to take a few pieces with them.

What does it look like to piece your heart back together?  I wish I knew.  Some things have helped…safe spaces at home…pets…candles…new traditions.  I need to get back into exercise because it helps focus some energy and makes me feel better.  I also need to find a manageable way to process the grief.  A few people have suggested the process of writing down what I lost.  I will be doing that over the next few weeks.  I have also ordered a few books on grief and healing…the divorce books just weren’t helpful, but a therapist said what I am going through is more like a trauma and grief, so I am going to try and go down that path.

I finished my grad school classes until March, so I am going to prioritize some of my energy into healing (again).  Christmas is nearly the last of the “firsts”.  Tomorrow it will be 9 months.  Nine months of pain, nine months of yelling and tears.  It has been also nine months of finding that I am stronger than I knew and that my heart has a bigger capacity for love and pain than I thought possible.  I cling to the hope that one day I will look back and see that this jigsaw puzzle is finally put back together…maybe sans a few pieces, but more beautiful because of how hard I worked to recreate the beauty.

Lawyer. Law scales on table in front black background. Symbol of
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Shared History

Let me preface this by saying that I asked my ex to do very little before he left, but one of the things I specifically requested is that he go through the Christmas stuff.  I didn’t want to have to face the process of separating ornaments and drudging up memories.  Well, he was too busy to do so over the course of 6 weeks, so tonight I had to do it.  I pulled out his ornaments and his stocking and they will travel in one of the boys’s suitcases, along with his baby books that he left behind, when they go see him for Christmas.  The tree decorating affair was bittersweet, at best.  The boys were being obnoxious about helping and then going on and on about how they loved every one of dad’s ornaments and mocking all of mine.  I tried not to cry, but there were also a lot of shared memories that were still hung on the tree.  Part of me is glad to have this “first” over and done with, but this was definitely one of the harder ones. When the boys had lost interest in decorating, I took our shared ornaments down to the basement, away from prying eyes, and smashed them into a million pieces.  It hurt like hell, but I needed to do it.


The truth is, though, that even though our ornaments are sitting in my trash, I can’t do the same with my memories.  The tree is beautiful and full of history and while my ex may have moved on, he still shares pieces of the tree and he always will.  I look forward to building on to the tree with new memories, but I cannot pretend that 14 years never happened.  Some days, it feels like it would be easier, but he will always occupy a piece of my past.  Now, I need to work on creating a new future.