It's a topic written about and commented upon, frequently. Little circles, made of gold or silver, encrusted with stones or plain. Maybe engraved. Little circles that symbolize so much. For such a tiny thing, they can wield so much power.
Mine did. I loved being married to my husband. I loved our passion, I loved our friendship, I loved that we split our responsibilities between us, according to our strengths. The ring on my finger meant so much to me.
Chuck was unable to wear his wedding ring after his first cancer, due to the swelling left after the massive radiation and numerous surgeries, so he wore it on the ring finger of his right hand. When he went into the hospital, of course, he removed it and I wore it on a chain around my neck until he died, and then put it on my ring finger, behind my own since it was too large for me.
I passed another milestone this week, something I've been approaching and thinking about for a few months but have only now felt ready for - I took my wedding rings off.
Well, to be more accurate, I moved them from my ring finger. I had my wedding band re-sized and it now sits on my middle finger alongside Dan's wedding ring and a small eternity band that I bought myself to complete the set. While my engagement ring, which is much too beautiful to be put back in a box, is now on my right hand.
For a really long time after Dan died I couldn't imagine ever being ready to take my rings off. He died six weeks after our wedding and to say I felt monumentally ripped off that I didn't get more time as his wife before becoming his widow is an understatement.
I was still basking in my newly-wedded glow - stifling giggles when I said the words 'my husband' out loud; getting used to my new name and title of Mrs Collins; and catching myself staring dreamily at my wedding ring finger . Then, way too quickly, he was gone and there's probably never been a more appropriate time to use the phrase 'the honeymoon was over'.
Today I changed my relationship status on Facebook from "married" to "widowed". I have been staring at that line on the page for many long months now. For whatever strange reason, it has given me great comfort to see it posted this way. Facebook may be a silly, meaningless network in many respects, but that status was still not something I could give up easily. In my heart, I have felt married to him still, and perhaps in a way, I will always feel married to him; he will always be with me. Giving up that label just seemed so...final. But I realize in this bizarro world of social media that maybe it had become appropriate to make this change. No matter where my life may take me now, I am in fact widowed. That is the simple, heart-breaking truth.
I'm not married anymore, and it was no choice of mine.Read more
Kelley's post got me thinking. My knee jerk reaction was: what's wrong with me that I parted with my wedding ring months after Dave died? What's wrong with me that I don't long to wear it? How did I let go of that ring? I measured the devotion I had by the way I dealt with my grief. Never helpful.
Everyone grieves differently. For a moment I forget it long enough to just begin to do a little inner critic stuff and then I remind myself that we're all doing this the way it works for us. No right or wrong.
A few months in I couldn't bear to look at my ring. It made me helplessly furious and frustrated to see it on my finger. A lie, I thought. It was a lie. If someone saw the ring and asked me about my husband, I'd simply keel over and die. I couldn't bear to hear someone ask about him. I couldn't bear to tell that story more than I already had to. That ring was a sign of our love, yes, and of course my love continued, but it was also a sign of our marriage and to me, our marriage had ended. I knew my life had to move on. I didn't like it. I raged against it. But I knew it had to happen. The ring was just delaying the inevitable for me. It was like trying to resurrect a stage of my life I had to say goodbye to. It was hanging on to something that was being ripped from me. Letting go brought me terrible relief.
The following was written in my personal blog just a few days ago, so those of you who may follow my writing over there, may have already read this. Really wanted to post a shorter version here too, though - because I know that so many of you can relate to the devastation and feelings that this brings up. Nothing has changed. Nothing has been found yet. I keep hoping .....Read more