Cher Finver Puzzler 

We would like to give a special thanks to Cher Finver  for sending us her well written article about how jigsaw puzzles have helped her deal with COVID during one of the world's most trying times, especially her being autoimmune.

We expect there are many puzzlers who can relate to a similar situation, however we are pleased to be able to have it presented here so enthusiastically.


Cher Finver Puzzler - Her Story


April 2020. The mail stacked on my desk contains a flyer from Washington, D.C., advising me to stay home and stop the spread. The country is on edge. Refrigerated trucks are being brought into N.Y.C. to store bodies. The number of those infected with COVID-19 rises daily, as does the number of the deceased. I await every news conference, and the uncertainty of this virus keeps me up at night.

I have nothing left to clean or organize and desperately need something to keep me busy. I click “add to cart” and wait for my 100-piece puzzle to arrive. I have only done one other puzzle in my life. At seventeen years old, I attempted a heart-shaped puzzle of a celebrity crush. It was twenty-five pieces and took me a day to complete. Puzzles were never my thing - in school or on an I.Q. Test. I will never solve a Rubik’s Cube either.

In my mid-forties now, I’ve done many things out of my comfort zone throughout my life. For example, once weighing almost three hundred pounds and walking into a gym for the first time wasn’t easy. I would go on to lose over a hundred and twenty-five pounds. Writing my memoir, telling my truth, and getting it published wasn’t easy. Neither was the first time I stood in front of strangers to share my struggles and triumphs, having multiple sclerosis. I’ve done this countless times now.

I scatter my smiling 2012 official portrait of Barack Obama puzzle on our coffee table. I remind myself that I will not let any puzzle have this much power over me any longer. My mother had taught me to start a puzzle by picking out the edge pieces first. I had to go back through my pile of puzzle pieces two more times, but before I knew it, the border to my puzzle was done, and over the next few days, the entire puzzle was completed.

My then nineteen-year-old daughter and quarantine buddy showed some interest in my puzzle, so I told her we could try a 500 piece-puzzle next. I figured with some help, we could get it done, and we did. That feeling of accomplishment was quickly followed by horror with the discovery that our puzzle (the cast of FRIENDS) was missing a piece - Jennifer Aniston’s elbow. My daughter was so disappointed she vowed never to do another jigsaw puzzle again.

I knew I needed more room to work on my jigsaw puzzles as I was now hooked. I dug out our old card table from the garage and wiped it down. The 500-piece puzzles were a challenge for this newbie, but my O.C.D. found it relaxing and soothing to separate the border pieces and group the other pieces by subject or color.

I mentioned earlier that I live with multiple sclerosis. Brain fog is a term (and description) I wish I knew nothing about. These puzzles kept my mind sharp, kept me away from the depressing news, and gave me better dexterity in a world where I often drop things.

During 2020 alone, I completed over fifteen 500-piece and 1,000-pieces puzzles.
Some I put together and then re-sold online. Many of them have been preserved with puzzle glue and are displayed in my garage. I focused on subjects I found fun (favorite films, cute animals) and many I learned from as I put them together, such as puzzles of all the American Indian tribes and International Space Rockets.


The most challenging 1,000-piece puzzles were my favorites. They include a detailed curved border map of Disneyland (my happy place) and a panoramic shot of a fan-packed Citifield. Let’s go, Mets! I needed extra light and a magnifying glass for these, and they will go down in history as two of my greatest personal accomplishments.


The pandemic has been a lonely place for someone like me with a compromised immune system. Jigsaw puzzles have been a great distraction. And seeing how far I have come with my ability to finish a puzzle relatively quickly has boosted my self-confidence. I usually find all the edge pieces on my first try and can complete a puzzle within a matter of hours if uninterrupted.

My husband and daughter joke now when they see the card table come out. “Another puzzle?” they cry. “Yep. When I die, please have Cher Finver, Jigsaw PuzzleMasterengravedonmyurn.”Iteasethemrightback. Mydaughterlooks at the cellphone she is permanently attached to. “Mom, some guy in Dorest did a 1,000-piece puzzle in two hours, twenty-six minutes, and forty-five seconds.” Brat. “Okay, so I may not be the official puzzle master, but you go ahead and put that on my urn anyway.”


Cher Finver is a mother, wife, writer, and New York Mets fan living in Las Vegas, Nevada. She's the author of the 2017 memoir, But You Look So Good and Other Lies, and has several other published works in fiction, non- fiction and poetry. When not wishing she was at Disneyland, Cher enjoys lunch at the Olive Garden, her aqua aerobics classes, and spending time with her three rescue dogs. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000 and is often told she "looks good," which is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone that not every disability is always visible.

If you are interested Cher can be contacted on Facebook CLICK HERE


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