At the same time, I shifted my own wedding ring—which had been my grandmother’s, engraved with their initials and their wedding date in 1918—to my right hand and it feels right there. Was she supposed to take them off the minute he died? And that particular jewelry, symbolism aside, had been on her hand for fifty years, longer in the case of the engagement ring!The other day, I was chatting with a widow friend who had celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary in October of 2008. Three weeks later, she was playing bridge with some friends when one suddenly said, “Oh, I’m so pleased to see you’re still wearing your wedding rings! I’m sure it didn’t even cross her mind until someone pointed it out. Another friend had divorced her philandering husband and flung her rings from the deck of a Washington State Ferry into Puget Sound. She was, of course, smart enough to remove the diamonds first.I think there’s a certain anger toward the symbolism of the rings which happens in divorce but isn’t there in the case of widowhood.
I slipped it on my own finger, since we didn’t want to lose it—and there it remained for quite some time. I didn’t remove my wedding ring for a good long time, in fact for nearly a year.
I experimented with putting different rings in place of my engagement ring, although I had also done that when John was still alive.
Around the date of our wedding anniversary, I bought myself a strong gold necklace and put his ring on that, along with a gold charm of the Space Needle and a gold charm of the state of Texas given to me many years ago by a dear friend. Just because she wasn’t technically “married” any longer?
The three symbolize the journey of our life together—we met in Texas, we parted in Seattle. I’m certain that the rings were the last thing on her mind, but even if they weren’t, she can wear whatever jewelry she wants, widowed or not.
At some point in the ICU he was puffed up with fluids.
John wore a ring that we bought together, engraved with our initials and the date of our marriage.
One of his marvelous nurses suggested that he take it off while he still could, since she would have to cut it off otherwise.
I don’t think he ever removed his ring, even during his idiotic affairs.
I can understand wanting to fling them into the deepest, coldest water I could find. At any rate, I’m now ringless on my left hand and my joints feel better.