The night Mike died, I was handed a plastic bag containing his wedding ring and a few items that were in his pockets. I put the ring on a chain and have worn it around my neck for the past 53 days.

The ring became my talisman. In moments of extreme stress, my hand automatically reached up to caress the ring, a tangible reminder of our bond. For the first several weeks, I wore it 24/7. After waking up several mornings with a headache and the heavy ring pressing into the back of my neck, I finally started taking it off at night to help me sleep better. But during all waking hours, my talisman hung around my neck.

On Thursday, while I was doing my stint as relief receptionist at work, a customer asked me what kind of ring that is. “Tungsten carbide,” I replied. He looked as if this had not answered his question, so I added, “It was my husband’s wedding ring.” With a friendly smile and no idea what he was stepping into, the man asked, “Did you buy him a new one?” I shook my head, looked down at my hands, finally mumbled through a tight throat that my husband had passed away. It was a very uncomfortable moment for both of us.

Today, for the first time in 53 days, I left Mike’s wedding ring at home. It sits on the altar I’ve made on top of my dresser — with the urn, Mike’s picture, a vase of fresh flowers (changed weekly), and a small carved box in which I keep a lock of his hair. Once or twice today I’ve reached up reflexively and been startled to find my neck bare.

I still wear the wedding ring he gave me, and I always will. Though at some point in the future I’ll move it to my right hand, right now even thinking about that causes me anxiety. But it feels OK to leave his ring on the altar and just wear mine, at least most of the time.


~ by hourbeforedawn on April 26, 2010.

2 Responses to “Rings”

  1. the first thing i noticed when i saw you that first time, was the ring around your neck. i remember thinking how big it looked, how wonderfully masculine, especially because you have such feminine, dainty hands… the ring on your left hand looked so delicate by comparison. (hugs)

  2. The physical strength of Michael’s ring is a symbol of the strength of your bond and love for each other. Soul mates forever!

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