When Should I Stop Wearing My Wedding Ring? ….If ever?
I look down at my wedding ring and the anniversary band beside it regularly, twirling the diamonds back to their proper centered position. Depending on the day, I either smile at the gift of the memories and the soulmate that my ring represents, or I frown at the sharp edges of pain that remind me that even though I still wear my ring, I am no longer legally wed. I certainly don’t continue to wear my ring because I am fooling myself into believing I am still happily married. Every second of every day screams his absence. Even at rest, in my dreams, the sorrow follows me. It is empty, cold and hollow without him here in our home and in my life.
He was the spice to my life for certain. His charismatic warmth and love for others, coupled with his goofy humor and quick wit brought smiles & a needed lightness of heart to those who came across his path. Nothing was ever boring with him. He made everything, no matter how mundane not just fun, but usually hilarious. He was in so many ways the sunshine of my life.
I don’t wear my wedding ring to pretend he is still here, yet the familiarity of wearing it seems to bring a comfort & a security that I need right now.
I like being seen wearing a wedding ring while I take my little guys to grab groceries or attend events in the community. I feel less vulnerable to be seen by strangers as married rather than to be seen as single with two young children.I am well aware of the minuscule percentage of women my age in our population who are young widows raising young children alone. I feel that the average passerby who actually takes the time to notice if a young Mom was not wearing a wedding ring on their left ring finger, would be much for more likely to assume that I am a divorced Mom, or a Mom who never married. At my age, few would conclude at a first glance “Oh, she must be a young widow.” So, for now, I would rather a stranger see that I am wearing my wedding ring and assume that I am “taken.” Or better yet….taken by a big strong husband who would do anything possible to protect his beloved bride and children.
When I visit certain loved ones, my hand seems to be under assessment, really obvious glances at my ring finger both amuse & irritate me because they think I don’t notice their analysis of my grief. Apparently for many, the re-moving of the wedding ring is an outward declaration of accepting your new life, completing your grief process, and being ready to move on with a new lease one life. But, I am NOT any of those things.
People also seem to equate a widow without a wedding ring as a widow who is ready to date again, or one who is “done” with her husband. Done with the “old” life and ready for a new beginning. I am NOT this either. What I am is….. a mess. I will never be “done” with my husband in my heart, never ever. And if God were to bless my life again down some future road with another wonderful husband, my heart would never cease to love my precious first husband. It would grow to also hold the love for another man.
Why does our culture treat love and marriage as such a disposable thing?
And why in our culture do people make formulas for grieving? “One should grieve one year for every 5 years they were married.” “One should remove their wedding ring after the first year of grief.” “One should remove their wedding ring immediately following the death of their spouse.” I am so weary of all the “one should” advice from people or professionals who have never actually lost their spouses. Each grief journey is as unique as each individual. God made each person unique, special, one of a kind. Each marriage relationship is also special and forms a unique identity all its own. Therefore, each person’s journey with grief with be equally unique, special, and one of a kind. There isn’t a measurable, one size fits all framework, or format for grief, though in our human nature who seem to seek measures to help us make sense of things.
My ring was a precious gift from my tenderhearted sweetheart. He worked hard, many hours in physically taxing work, carefully saved and delighted to take me to the jeweler and watch my eyes light up at the prospect of wearing one of the beautiful rings I saw beneath the locked glass case. Someone loved me. The right someone loved me. Finally after waiting patiently on God’s timing for his best for my life, the prayers and longings of my heart were answered. He was everything perfect for me and more. A spouse that felt literally created from the same goofy, sweet, tenderhearted fabric that I was created from. We both fell in love with a ring with a raised center diamond and two medium diamonds beside with two stripes of several tiny diamonds all in a row. My husband said it represented to him that our two separate lives were coming together to form one new beautiful life together and my heart melted all over again. Once our rings were placed on our hands on our wedding day, it was a very rare moment that they ever left our hands. On in the shower, on at work, on while sleeping, on while gardening, etc. They began to feel like literal essential parts of our bodies. Over the course of our marriage, being the sentimental souls we were, if one of us had to briefly remove our rings for a cut on our finger beneath it or an inspection at the jeweler, the other would place it back on the hand, similar to when our vows were taken. He would slide my ring back on my finger, kiss my hand, tell me he loves me and remind me of his commitment to me for all of his life. He loved me so beautifully, but Oh how I wish he were still here, keeping that commitment for so much longer.
If I took my wedding ring off of my hand today, it would feel like I would be ripping yet another chunk out of the broken bits that remain of my heart. I guess I’m not ready today. I don’t expect to be ready soon. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be ready.
I wonder how everyone else handles this aspect of their grief journey? Please feel free to share.
In Hope & Prayers
~This Widow Mama~
Mark your calendars! Hope For Widows Foundation’s annual virtual Widows of Hope 5K event has returned on Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14, 2023. Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcome to participate. The proceeds will directly support widows through the annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program. Do you have or know a business that would like to sponsor? That’s an option too! To register and frequently asked questions- please go here: http://getmeregistered.com/WidowsofHope5K