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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

It was February 8, 2017, three and a half years after I lost Rick.

I finally removed the wedding ring from my finger.

 

I never thought seriously about taking it off until then. It was as much a part of me as the hand that wore it.

 

My hand was alternating between aching and going numb, and my finger was swelled above the ring. Also, upon closer inspection, I finally realized that the knuckle of that finger was wider than the ring sitting beneath it! Funny, I didn’t notice that happening. (My shoe size increased after having two children…but my hands? Wha?!)

 

So one night, I soaked my hand in ice water, slicked up that finger with lots of baby oil, and wrestled it off…

 

Just as I should have.

 

I stared for a long, long while at the ring and the finger it had been glued to for 35 years…and oddly, I didn't get upset. Not one tear.

 

Maybe that is why I stared so long…mesmerized. Maybe I was expecting a meltdown. It never came.

 

My daughter had ring sizers in her jewelry box, so I used them to see what size my right hand ring finger was…size 8. And while I know our right and left sides are not perfectly matched, I measured the size of my wedding ring expecting it to be close to that…but no…size 6. Two sizes different? Then, I measured the size of my wedding-ring finger knuckle…size 7.5.

 

No damn wonder my hand was aching!

 

So I decided it was time to try this new hand out...this ring-less hand. And for a few months afterward, I admit I experienced twinges of guilt…as if I was wronging Rick somehow. I thought about having the ring re-sized…if that is even possible without ruining it…but no.

 

No. No. No! I won’t do that…

 

And I shouldn’t!

 

Let's face it, the day I lost Rick was the hard part...burying Rick was the hard part…trying to comfort his children who loved him so dearly…stumbling through life's decisions, emergencies, family tribulations without my best friend…that was the hard part…IS the hard part!

 

So, taking a ring off…after the horror of losing Rick...after living without him...well, it just cannot be compared. And it is ridiculous to try!

 

And as the ring slipped from my finger…maybe these thoughts were in my subconscious...the meltdown that never happened explained.

 

All of us experience grief in our own way, don’t we? Equally, we create a new life in our own way, at our own pace…each of us so unique while moving through this shared experience of loss.

 

I have finally come to realize that the only ‘wrong’ I could be guilty of…at this time…in my experience…is NOT taking this ring off…and keeping it off.

 

September 23rd will be the 4th anniversary of Rick’s passing…and I am finally strong enough to put this symbol away…physically and emotionally.

 

I still have symbols, mind you, but they are the living, breathing kind...my children and I.

We are the only ‘symbols’ of Rick that matter. The women who still love him most dearly. The women who pray for him everyday. The women who speak his name…frequently…just as we always have. Those who laugh at his quirkiness. Those who make sure his grandson knows how wonderful his grandfather was…and still is. Those who bake a cake on his birthday every year. Those who pass on his wisdom for the benefit of others. Those who will never forget...

We are his legacy. WE are the ring…the only one that matters.

 

It is now September 9th...7 months after removing the ring and the aching and swelling are gone...but a clear indention remains. 

 

Odd, huh?

 

I don't think so...(smiling)

 

It is just as it should be.

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Comment by soulmate on September 18, 2017 at 4:42am

I removed my ring a few months after my wife died. I wore it around my neck when I ran a marathon to honor her. Its with my bib number now, framed on the wall. The intention isn't to promote myself, but to honor actually two wives that died of cancer (I wore both rings around my neck during the marathon, my first and last-lol!)

Comment by mls64 (Mike) on September 17, 2017 at 11:56am
11 weeks out tomorrow, your post lands on me like a heavy lead weight. That is definitely an "advanced" move (in my case).
However, your words about family being the "ring" is comforting. A concept that I have barely pondered. My home is surrounded by my wife and her things. I struggle from day to day trying to decide what to keep and hold dear and what to let go of.
Ours 4 daughters each bare inner pieces of their mother. Individually unique and collectively part of the same woman, their mother.
Thank you for some new thought process !
Comment by Athena53 on September 17, 2017 at 10:47am

Thanks for this post.  I know we're all different (one guy who posted here said he and his new wife still wear the rings form their previous marriages, with new inscriptions inside), but I have also chosen to remove my ring.  DH died last November 15, so it's not quite a year, but I don't feel married.  I WAS very married but he's gone now.   I took my ring off on his 79th birthday (early August) because I didn't want to do it any random day.  I left it on top of the box with his ashes for a day or so, and now it's on a chain around my neck along with his ring and a silver charm bearing his fingerprint.

Comment by vintage56(barb) on September 17, 2017 at 4:32am

thank you for this. It has been almost 3 years for me and I still wear it. I know I will probably think about taking it off at some point. Just a plain gold band but it has been part of me for so long.

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on September 10, 2017 at 3:09am

Sounds like it worked just right for you!  ;')

I wore a widow ring for about 6 years, it had an inner working band I could turn. I loved it. It was like a security blanket for a couple of years, then it became a habit to wear. It was all good ...

Ten years later, I still enjoy taking out my wedding ring, slipping it on to admire & remember the good times, then back into the safe for the next time. My marriage to Bob-O was the happiest & most fortunate 28 year event of my life, and w/that said, I will wait to see if any of the kids want a diamond from my ring to have a custom made wedding ring for their future spouse ...

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