We are all Jigsaws

on Thursday, 07 July 2016. Posted in Blog Tags CancerCare, cancersupport, localcharity, Poetry

A poem by George Palmer

puzzle The first piece, the centrepiece, is laid by two other jigsaws at the moment of conception. Other pieces are quickly placed and the picture that is you begins to form until your small and very incomplete jigsaw is born.


Your jigsaw grows with pieces from your parents, from your family, from events and your home. Eventually you will add your own pieces, but in these early days you rely so much on others. You grow day by day, piece by piece as your small picture begins to form.


When you begin to add some of your own pieces, you may choose friends, favourite colours, football teams and so on. As you do so you grow with your jigsaw as the picture that is you becomes more complete. Soon you take more control, adding pieces because you want them even if other jigsaws would prefer you not to.puzzle If fortune smiles on you, you will find another jigsaw who will add to yours and you to theirs. Your pictures will complement each other and merge to become one whilst remaining two – two halves of a whole, growing, changing, loving. You may think, or hope, that your portrayals will intertwine and strengthen ad infinitum. Maybe in the land of fantasy and fairy tales, but our jigsaws are not of Cinderella and Prince Charming, ours are of flesh, blood and emotions. Sooner or, hopefully, later, one of the jigsaws will die.


puzzleWhen this happens, not only are the pieces of that jigsaw lost, but also those that were given by the partner and those that made the surviving partner complete. What remains of the picture that is left is fragmented, broken and isolated. Friends and family help move the stray pieces a little, adding pieces of their own jigsaws as they do so. With their help, and sometimes aided by professionals, the broken jigsaw begins to take form. The picture is different and yet, to the untrained eye, identical to that before the death.


The picture will never be the same as it was. It will look the same, maybe act the same, but there will always be something missing. The jigsaw will shuffle its stray pieces, maybe add some, but completeness will remain a dream for a long time, if at all. Maybe all we can hope for, is that the picture that is the jigsaw will grow to have all its edge pieces and enough centre pieces to paint a picture with an occasional smile and a little happiness.

George Palmer

pieces of the puzzle