There is a lot of information out there about the benefits of doing puzzles. That is a topic which will be looked into more fully at a later time. Today, I want to relate a more intimate benefit. For many people the thoughts of jigsaw puzzles are greeted with ambivalence. Still, there are many who love the challenge and the catharsis which building something gives as well as how it can open up doors of relationships.
With my work I deal with people who do puzzles for many reasons. One day I spoke with a woman who had purchased a puzzle of San Francisco. She told me how she had spent hours assembling the puzzle with her father, who had recently been diagnosed with terminal, stage 4 cancer. As they placed the pieces of the image together, one by one, they reminisced about the last trip they had taken together to San Francisco. The image brought back memories and made new ones, as she watched her father’s fingers gently place the irregular shapes into the bigger picture. Over a couple weeks they completed the puzzle when he was up to it. In doing so they shared hours of quality time and stories. He passed shortly after it was completed but she had it, something touched by her father, and a physical representation of memories she had made with him. The puzzle was going to be framed and hung on her wall.
People do puzzles for many reasons, but people should do puzzles. I recommend doing them with those around us. I have had the pleasure to meet many people who share puzzles with their family members and find it opens up channels of communication, building relationships. It is cool how something in so many broken pieces can make other broken things whole. They can open doors, build bridges, and heal in addition to the many other benefits that they offer.