Ward Life: The Jigsaw Lady

thumbnail_IMG_2286.jpgToday, I walked into the quiet lounge, just to realise that the Jigsaw lady wasn’t there – she was gone, discharged. She usually sat alone on a chair below the TV working on huge, complex Jigsaws. We never really spoke to one another, but today, without her, the lounge felt empty. She was good, really good at jigsaws. Her pictures never looked the same – they looked glorious even three quarters done.

Thing is, if I were honest – I’d admit to being a bit envious of her. Envious that she could concentrate for lengthy periods on a single task and envious that she could create what she saw with such apparent ease. Truth be known, I’ve had issues with jigsaws since I was small girl. I’ve always been skeptical of any jigsaw that’s already been opened. I imagine working weeks on a jigsaw just to realise that the last couple of final pieces are nowhere to be seen, that they’re lost, and that the picture therefore can’t be finally completed. What happens then?

Do I:

  • Go and look for the lost piece/s? Thoroughly search the box, if that fails – surf the net for specific pieces.
  • Cry into my tea for the next 5 days – measuring up my options.
  • Forget about it all – jumble all the pieces up in my feelings of hopelessness and pretend the whole ordeal never happened.

thumbnail_IMG_2287.jpgWhichever I choose, the fact surely is that I have an incomplete picture boasting a couple of prominent holes. Surely, I can’t frame it like that! Or can I?

Being in a psychiatric Unit for the fourth time in my life has made me question a whole lot of things. I won’t bore you here with my existential ideas/theories, but what I will say is that I have thought over and over about my existence and life and what makes any one of them – at any particular time complete. Are/will they ever be complete? If so, who is to judge whether they are complete and what’s needed to make them complete?

I guess, some people will get-up and start looking for those pieces like mad, almost make it some kind of life goal. Others perhaps, will accept, that the lost pieces weren’t presented at the opening of the box and therefore should not really be there, for whatever reason – they might even be happy enough to frame it without the final pieces.

I think that what I’ve come to learn in hospital is that there isn’t a perfect sense of completeness to anything, at least not for me. If there were, the probability of me coming out of here would be very slim. I’d forever be searching for my lost pieces, obsessed with finding them so that I could slot them in and move on with my life. Instead, I accept that things like art, images, life and our sense of existence changes all the time. Therefore, a jigsaw with a lost piece of sky is no less valuable than a jigsaw with a ‘complete’ sky, it’s just a different kind of sky.

So, If I ever get to the point where I finally do a jigsaw in here and find out that it has some lost pieces, hopefully I’ll have the firmness and courage not to lose heart about it, alternatively, even frame it – just the way it is.

I have to thank the lovely jigsaw lady – that has quite unknowingly, I guess left – just like a lost piece of jigsaw, for this insight. Of course, the hospital ward with its missing piece (the jigsaw lady) is no less valid following her discharge, although we all feel her loss. But, the ward is changed – and it will for sure, continue to change as pieces of our jigsaw leave and others join.

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