The Christmas Puzzle


The Christmas Puzzle


(Editor's Note: We welcome Cathy to our blogging team today! You may have connected with Cathy in our chat room as she helps moderate the morning chat and regularly attends the afternoon and evening chats. Please feel free to connect with Cathy on her profile page: @cathyj.)

In May, my life became a puzzle. Mom was officially (finally) diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The journey getting to the diagnosis was like trying to solve a puzzle where the pieces from several puzzles were dumped together. The doctors would find a few pieces and put them together, but ultimately it would go to the wrong puzzle.

Once we had a diagnosis, the unpacking of the puzzle began. The doctors took all the pieces of medical history and medications and put them all back together. The changes in medication pieces made such a difference. Then there were the pieces of her daily life and how would they fit. We changed puzzles and mom moved in with us. My husband and I assumed responsibility for her daily care, finances, medical needs, keeping her involved, and getting her to all her appointments and such. It was a whole new puzzle with pieces I hadn’t even thought about. Where were all her credit cards? What had to be moved in the house? What to do with her pictures, her home, her life? As we put the pieces together, suddenly a new picture emerged and it was beautiful and we began building new memories.

Then there was the puzzle of family. The journey to acceptance, and awareness, and support had lots of pieces. Talk about a puzzle! Some of the pieces couldn’t be found. But, we are getting there and we are learning and even without all the complete pieces, the puzzle comes together.

Then there is the disease itself. Some days, the pieces fit. It just works. We see the needed pieces and they slip in perfectly. Other days, no matter how many times we turn a piece, it won’t fit. The pieces don’t even look like the picture on the box. And when we finish the puzzle, there is always a piece or two missing. Slipped into a coat pocket or dropped somewhere random in the house. Always trying to figure out what to do to fix the puzzle. Finishing and starting over. More pieces missing each time. Never quite complete. But what I have learned is that it doesn’t matter…because even with the missing pieces, I can still see the beautiful picture that is my mom.

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Thank you, Cathy. It is so true that, if we choose, we do not have to put all the pieces together to see the beauty of our loved one and the beauty of this journey we are taking with them.


What a beautiful and insightful post. Welcome to the world of blogging! I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.\r\nI love your \"The pieces don’t even look like the picture on the box.\" Boy, is that accurate. Willing to approach this as a dynamic, not static situation makes all the difference in the world.

Rachel Hiles

I love this metaphor!!! I also like how you pointed out that even if the puzzle pieces aren't all there or don't fit together, the puzzle can still work. Thanks for sharing your perspective with us, Cathy.

RoaringMouse 2.0

Thanks for sharing and being on the chat this morning. It was good to chat with you! I have always loved jigsaw gave me another reason why. Yes caregiving can be a jigsaw puzzle...but no matter what the pieces (regardless of shape) will always fit together even if we don't understand at the moment why. (HUGS!)

Jackie Ann


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