May 4, 2012

Our Rings

Our Wedding Rings
Picture courtesy of Larry Runyon








I know that many widow/ers agonize over what to do with their rings.  I was no different.  I loved my rings and when Chris died I had only gotten to wear both the engagement and wedding band together for six months.  I never wanted to stop wearing them. Chris was so proud of my engagement ring, that he picked it out by himself and how he totally surprised me when he proposed. I never wanted to let that go, I never wanted to remove that tie.

About a year later, as my grief shifted, I noticed I started hiding my hand.  I did this to avoid painful/traumatic questions. 

“How long have you been married?”

“What does your husband do?”

“What beautiful rings, where did your husband get them?”

Each of these type of interactions caused panic attacks and could throw off any forward progress I had made.  So  I started to think about taking them off.  It took me three more months before I did.  After not wearing them around the house to practice I didn’t take them on a trip to the beach and then never really wore them after. 

At first I felt a bit freer, like my hand wasn’t being weighed down, but it didn’t feel right.  I felt so vulnerable, unprotected. No longer could I know that people assumed I had someone waiting for me at home.  But I left them off as this was better than the questions.

I began to think about what I wanted to do with the rings. I have thought about combining our wedding bands together and adding some stones to wear on my right hand.  I have thought about turning the engagement ring into other jewelry or saving it for my nieces or to sell if I needed money some day.  I haven’t decided what to do yet.  I keep saying I will go to a jeweler and brainstorm ideas, but then I don’t want to, so I haven’t yet.

One other thing I have thought of was finding a widow’s ring.  I have always bemoaned the lack of societal practices for grieving people today.  I longed for the old traditions of wearing black clothes and jewelry.  I thought about getting a black diamond eternity band to wear on my ring finger, but again could never follow through because of price or indecision.

Then when I was at Widow Camp, a jeweler who I had seen online before, had a booth.  She had rings, necklaces, and earrings that all fit the needs of a widow.  I was instantly drawn to one. I tried it on and it felt right. You can see it here http://www.expressionsofgrief.com/WIDOWS-the-3rd-Ring-4mm-ETR1108.htm  

It felt appropriate and that it reflected where I am in life.  I am not married anymore, but I am not single either.  Widowhood is a distinct phase of life that is for me the most life changing of any phase of life I have been through. It should be equally acknowledged and honored as marriage.

I did a quick search on widowhood and this is what came up first from answers.com:

“Widowhood refers to the status of a person whose spouse has died and who has not remarried. Women in this situation are referred to as widows, and men as widowers. In the United States and other Western nations, approximately 6 percent of the total population is widowed and this proportion increases to about one-third of the population sixty-five years of age or older. Recent trends indicate that widowhood is becoming less common, largely because more people either never marry or are separated or divorced.

Widowhood is commonly viewed as a life transition. A transition is a major change in life circumstances that takes place over a relatively short period of time but has lasting effects on large areas of a person’s life. It requires the development of new life habits or ways of coping. Widowhood is one of the most stressful life transitions, although most people adjust successfully over time.”
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/widowhood#ixzz1trTVQ34W

If you read on it brings up some interesting points, but what rings most true to me is that:

1. It is rarer and rarer for people to be widowed, especially if they are younger than 65 (try 28)

2. That the transition happens relatively quickly

3. That widowhood has life long affects

So I am glad I have a ring to honor it now.

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