By Tom Brodnicki

Seeking to be whole,
Hoping each piece fits,
Fingers picking me up
Only to put me down,
Sometimes confused
On and on…bit by bit.

Once I was whole
Or so I believed
Until Lewy arrived
Picking my brain apart
Piece by piece – first my keys
Why, oh why is it me?

Is this how it ends
Appearing strong on the edge
Surrounded and secure
While lost in the middle
Pieces close together
Yet disjointed and unsure

Shapes of many types
Colors of the rainbow
Once a work of art
Together as one
Until a shove, a shift
Breaks it all apart

So, what happens now
Pieces scattered everywhere
Some lost, some to be found
Life’s puzzle changed –
Never to be the same
Yet hope is eternal – never bound

Pick up the pieces – seeking the best
Pick the brightest shapes and colors
Discard the rest
Create new art – revive your heart
Piece by beautiful puzzle piece
Give your life a fresh start!


Artist Statement:
With gratitude to the CBMM team for their continual search to better mental health for those struggling across a multitude of issues, blending the Arts and Sciences is a marvelous offering. In this vein the old saying “you’re a poet and don’t know it” came to life for me with an invitation to a virtual “poetry slam” that included encouragement to provide a poem of importance or an original work.  While I recognize poetry as a valuable art form I never considered myself a poet.  Taking the invitation as a challenge and knowing I might get “slammed” or emphatically told “you are not a poet and should know it”, I decided to give it a try.
I began with a time of reflection in living with Lewy Body Dementia the past 6 years.  Knowing that many pieces of my life have and will continue to slowly slip away from the professional, personable, and engaging spirit I am generally known for, more questions than answers rumbled though my mind.  Not knowing where it would go, suddenly I began writing poetic verse.  While Lewy Body slows my ability to recall, connect words and often make my point verbally, writing remains a valued gift. Initially trying to abide by the rules of poetry learned long ago in school, soon I threw the rules to the wind and just wrote.
Life’s Puzzle Pieces emerged from a reflection and discovery that beyond the science and excellent care provided by the medical professionals, appreciating and engaging in the arts provide a new weapon in the battle to keep Lewy Body Dementia in its place.  While still a challenge, writing the poem reminded me that there are far more puzzle pieces in place than those that have slipped away.  Writing and sharing this poem has been a very valuable experience in many ways!  Thank you CBMM.