It was a perfectly normal summer evening when everything changed. We always sat on the beach across the street with our friends. We always used the bathroom in the clubhouse. Mike always left the party to go home early.
This was unreasonable and should not be happening I kept thinking. I was present but not really understanding what was going on.
Somehow I got home from the hospital that night and some family and good friends were with me.
At 2:00 in the morning the detectives came in to tell me what they had decided happened. I kept trying to convince them that this was ridiculous. I explained how this was a typical evening. Mike had been fine when I last saw him on the beach.
The one man who had been talking promised to keep in touch and gave me a card. The quiet detective who had been standing by the sliding glass door then approached me. He offered his condolences then handed me a ziplock bag.
In the bag were Mike’s eyeglasses and his gold wedding ring.
All of my convincing didn’t work. They still wanted to tell me that Mike died.
I wouldn’t touch the bag.
Someone else took it.
Days and weeks went by before I wondered what happened to that bag. I looked in the cabinets where that man had been standing but never found it.
Eventually I asked people if they knew what happened to that bag. No one really knew.
I joined a bereavement group and some Facebook pages with fellow widows and widowers. I did find support in the groups but I was always a bit forlorn when others would share what they had done with their spouses rings.
Some were worn around necks. Some were molded into new rings. There’s even something called a widow’s ring.
Well, this past week I was cleaning out an old dresser that I had sold on line. I was in a rush to meet a friend for dinner but I had a few minutes. Somehow I felt compelled to just be sure the drawers were empty of old papers and tags and pennies before the people came to pick it up in the morning.
Wasn’t I surprised when in the back of one empty wooden drawer I picked up a shiny gold wedding ring. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face and tears of joy filled my eyes.
My own wedding ring hasn’t left my finger even though Mike has been gone now 25 months. Basically it’s still here because I can’t physically get it off my finger but I’m really glad it’s still here.
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