Do Widows Wear Wedding Rings?

My left ring finger looks so bare as I think about what to write on my blog today.  I have put on a few pounds since my wedding day and my ring was literally stuck on my finger.  It was a beautiful ring that my grandmother had worn her whole life and she left to me in her handwritten scrawl on the side of her neatly typed Last Will and Testament.

When Mike and I decided to get married, after living together in California for a year, I went home to New York, took the ring out of the safety deposit box and declared ourselves engaged. We had of course discussed this and were excited to get married in a ceremony with our families and friends.

Eight months later we got married on a rainy Saturday in August.  Living in San Diego, I had brought the delicate and large diamond ring to a local jeweler.  It was uncanny how he admired the ring and said it must have been designed in New York City around 1920 based on the design of the diamond called the  “Old Mine Cut”.  This popular cut was different from today’s diamonds in that instead of being laser cut, it was hand produced.  Every single diamond is unique.

After appraising the ring, we had the jeweler design a ring to match as a wedding band. This was in the late 1980’s when everyone was changing old rings into new designs.   I am so glad that I did not change the setting because it is so beautiful the way it is.

But, as with many of the things from my marriage, I have acknowledged that some things are no longer true.  Like on Facebook it says I am married.  I feel like I am married, but I guess I should really change that to widowed, or at this point I am in a relationship.  That just seems too real to deal with.

Most of Mike’s clothes are now gone from his closet, although I still have a few items that I think my sons may want or I just keep them around to see.  I have expanded my summer wardrobe into his closet.  Recently I was going through some piles of papers and came across his expired old license and photo I.D. card from a hotel we worked in together in California.  I didn’t get rid of them, yet.  Not sure why – I just didn’t want to. To read about more about my attempts at clearing out the house click here: Finding Joy in the act of getting rid of clutter.

Some widows are ready when their husband passes, and clean out the houses right away.  That is not the way I dealt with it.  Since his death was unexpected I was in the denial zone for a while, I left everything as is.  In fact, I often thought and dreamed that this was all a big mistake and he would be back. I remember he died in August and left his flip-flops outside the side door.  I left them there all winter.

Slowly, I have made progress in moving on or moving forward and parting with some things that I really don’t need.  His toiletries and medicines took a while, but I realized that I didn’t really want or need them and cleaned out the bathroom shelves one day.  He didn’t collect much stuff, but I did get rid of some of his books and papers.  I still have his framed diplomas.  I guess as long as I am living in this house I don’t have to make decisions about all that stuff yet.

Back to the ring.  It is so pretty.  I had to cut it off my finger.  It was broken in 2 parts of the wedding band and very tight. It was starting to make my finger turn blue.  I could change the setting, but since it is about 100 years old, I think I may have it resized and just wear it on my right hand. Maybe I will use my wedding band and his wedding band and design a piece of jewelry to keep him close to my heart as well.

Do widows wear wedding rings? Yes they do.  Some will never take them off.  Some will move them to the right hand.  It is definitely a personal decision and not one any one else should make for you.  When or if you are ready, you will take it off.  Maybe you’ll sometimes put it back on again.

I have seen many examples of beautiful new pieces of jewelry that widows have made.  A necklace with both rings on a chain.  Or both rings melted down into a heart shape with a diamond.  Maybe turn them into a widow ring, which doesn’t sound that great, but basically it is your design and may include parts of both your rings.

It took me almost 3 years to move my ring to the other hand.  I may not have moved it but the fact that it was too small and broken helped me make the decision.

I also made the decision because I am ready to meet someone else and be part of a committed relationship.  I loved being married.  Our relationship of course had it’s ups and downs but overall we had trust and love and continued to enjoy each other.  The shock of him being gone is going away and I am learning to live in the life I have right now.  If the life I have brings me a new love, then I will honor that.

 


 

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Comments

48 comments on “Do Widows Wear Wedding Rings?”
  1. Dawn Leblanc says:

    I so feel your dilemma! I have 2 wedding bands. Married the same man 3 times! I may never remove them.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      He must have been someone very special. thanks for reading.

  2. Addie says:

    We do things, say things, plan things when we are ready, and when we are ready we will know it, all who love us will want us to live, to love , to be happy.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      So true. Things that you thought would never be something you want in the first 6 months, changes after 2 years and some things don’t. Great to have support from loved ones.

  3. Christine E Lister says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. I had to take my wedding ring off almost 4 months after my husband died suddenly bc it was making me so sad to see it. Plus the reality was, I was no longer married. I bought another ring in its place as a commitment between me and God bc I’m not ready to announce I’m single to strangers. One day at a time… one experience at a time.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks Christine for your comment. The idea of another ring sounds great. Enjoy it.

    2. Leirip Takal says:

      Christine, heartfelt when reading comments from the friend widows and I came across yours about the wedding ring. I learnt something new….I was a widow when 44. It is not that easy but with God I have come that long way under his caring and loving hands. I have his favour!!….Nothing is impossible with our good Lord!

    3. Jeri Favreau says:

      My husband died on Thanksgiving day 2018. I took my ring off this month for the same reasons. My daughter was upset with me but it was hard to work forward when I could see and touch my ring all day knowing he was never coming back and I was no longer married. I am thinking of having the rings melted down together and creating a new ring, still part of of us but different.

      1. runawaywidow says:

        It is sad to see the ring and be reminded of your love and commitment for all those years. You want to still love your husband and honor your relationship, but it doesn’t feel right, after a while. But when you are ready, doing something new or different with the rings can be comforting.

  4. plr33 says:

    All I can say is there is not one appropriate way to grieve. However you do it is EXACTLY right for you💕💕

    1. runawaywidow says:

      This is so true. It’s nice to know that you are not alone too and to hear other ideas on this path none of us wanted to go down.

  5. cedar51 says:

    I wouldn’t change my f/b profile just yet – maybe find a way to make it secret, so you don’t have to reveal anything to anyone.

    as to the ring, it’s your decision – I have my old wedding ring, somewhere – but I never wear it – (I’m not a widow, though – separated quite a few decades) I haven’t worn any rings for years…just not my style.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      It’s amazing how many people feel strongly about wearing them after their husband dies. I think I will probably resize it and wear it on my right hand because it is so pretty and a family heirloom. thanks for your comment!

  6. joleisa says:

    I understand your dilemma. When my son died I got rid of most of his stuff after about 6 months. So many memories. But I choose to hold on to some of the photos that will be with me forever. Thanks for this.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I also saved many photos. I used to look at them every day but after a while I live more in the present, just keep a couple around the house.

  7. Jenn Loyd Life + Style says:

    This must be such a hard decision to make! My heart aches for what you have gone through and are still going through.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you so much. For me it has been a tough thing to do, take it off. I think I’ll have it resized and wear on my right hand. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Sophia says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine losing my fiancé (who’s name is Mike) and your blog has opened my eyes. Hopefully this means I can be empathetic with my friend who recently lost her husband. What’s something that someone did for you that really helped you? We are not best friends but I’d like to help her through this time.

    Also, I say you don’t have to change your Facebook status. If you’re married in your heart xx

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thank you for reading. So many people did nice things for me after my husband died. People brought over food, or sent cards with gift cards to restaurants in them with a note. That was really nice. I did not like to talk on the phone, so people who just stopped by were much easier for me to deal with than making plans. Just show up is the best advice. Best wishes on your wedding!

  9. Ricki says:

    My husband passed 4 months ago do to cancer. He is the love of my life. I still wear my ring, I still have my Facebook status as married. I still have his Facebook activated. I don’t think I’m in denial. I just haven’t felt the need to make those changes.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      I agree. I have not wanted to change those things either. After 30 months it is something I think about and I had to take the ring off. Planning to get it resized though. Thanks for reading

      1. linda hegseth says:

        i wear his ring on a necklace and i find that comforting.

      2. runawaywidow says:

        That is a great idea. I love it. Thanks for reading

    2. Margie Morrissey says:

      my husband died 6 months ago from Cancer.. He is still my husband and we had agreed long ago that we would love each other forever. I still wear my rings and cannot imagine not wearing them. Many friends who are widowed that are around my age, have taken off their rings, but I choose to keep mine on my left ring finger where My loving husband and best friend put them 40 1/2 years ago. I am not in denial either, but just will never stop loving Tim.

      1. runawaywidow says:

        Totally understand. You have to do what feels right for you.

  10. I remarried a widower and I am also a widow. I only wear my new husbands ring but he wears both❤️

    1. runawaywidow says:

      That’s nice that he wears both and you are OK with that. I may want to resize mine and just wear it on the other hand since it’s also a family heirloom. Thanks for reading and your comment!

  11. This was so emotional for me; not because I have gone through this but because my grandma currently is. I love the idea of another ring!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. Sorry for your loss. I’m planning to wear mine again in a different way.

  12. I’ve just read your lovely post on a day when I’ve been thinking about my husband, who I lost 4 years ago, and wondering when would be the right time to stop wearing my wedding ring. The trouble is, as soon as I have that thought I almost panic – it’s such a big step (I don’t really know why) and I just can’t do it so, after reading this, I swapped my wedding and engagement ring to my right hand. I don’t know if they’ll stay there – I feel so unbalanced, for want of a better word, but, thanks to you and your post, I’ve tried. Thank you x

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Wow. Thanks for sharing. I had mine resized and wear it on my right hand now too. It takes a while but now I’m used to it. Sending you a hug.

      1. Lasted about 10 mins this morning but baby steps I think…. thanks so much that means a lot and right back at you 🤗

  13. I relate so much. My husband passed away in January and I’m only 47. This wasn’t suppose to be this way. I still have a married status on Facebook and still feel married, too. I refer to him as “my husband” when telling stories, as if he is still alive. Three weeks before he passed away I told him how sorry I was that I felt like I had taken him for granted and that he would always be there. He told me it was ok and he wasn’t going anywhere. But he did. I just recently took my wedding ring off and only because I was missing two prongs and I was afraid of losing my diamond. I keep trying to feel it on my finger and it feels so naked and strange. My husband was a jeweler and I kept telling him I needed new prongs and re-tipping and he wasn’t able to get to it because he was battling cancer. I feel like I can’t have anyone repair it or change it because he designed it and always took care of it for me. I’m still in that denial phase and hate to change or get rid of anything. It helps to know I’m not alone. Read your post about holidays and 4th of July today. I relate to that, too. Miss him so much.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. It sounds like your ring is really special. I hope you can get it fixed and continue to wear it as long as you like! Hugs.

  14. Christine says:

    I took my ring off a few weeks later but I’m not a ring person – it was a very narrow band. I still have my husband’s ring. My son is getting married and may use it as his ring. I haven’t heard for sure if he will but I love that idea.

    I just changed my Facebook status from friends to private but I couldn’t change it from married to widowed. That was a good option for me.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      That is a nice idea to have your son use it. I may do that but I have 2 sons. Tricky. I just never stated married so I didn’t state widowed either.

  15. Karin Jackson says:

    Loved reading this. Neither my husband or I wore our wedding bands in recent years (size and work issues). He passed away in September, expectedly (as if you can ever expect it), from cancer. Only 55. In November I took both bands to a jeweler. Had his sliced in half and put on both sides of mine. He will be wrapped around me forever. Now I have a beautiful wide band that I wear on my left hand for now, but will look great on my right hand when I’m ready.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      That sounds beautiful!!

  16. judithhb says:

    Thanks for sharing. After 21 years I still wear my rings most days. I wore them for 41 years until that dreadful day and my finger looks bare without them.
    And thanks for subscribing to my blog. BTW I absolutely hate the word ’widow’.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for commenting. I did hate the word too, but the more I used it, the more it didn’t really upset me anymore.

  17. I still wear my wedding and engagement rings from time to time. Why not? They are beautiful! I especially like to wear them when I am out in the evenings (which is infrequent – I’m pretty much a homebody). I think of them as protection from unwanted advances. Of course, I realize that only the decent men will take heed of the rings on my finger but it’s my dream world, and I like living in it, so there! 😉

    1. runawaywidow says:

      I’m wearing mine on my right hand now. It is beautiful so I will keep wearing mine too.

  18. Courtney says:

    My husband died a little over a month ago. He had recently updated my engagement ring by placing the main diamond in a band of smaller surrounding diamonds. I had waited years for this perfect ring. I still can’t imagine taking it off. I will eventually move it to my right hand and someday give it to my daughter when she gets engaged. I have his ring around my neck. I hold it so often throughout the day.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Courtney I am so sorry for your recent loss. Your ring sounds beautiful and I agree you should wear it. Mine is on my right hand everyday and I’m happy it is still there. I still haven’t figured out what to do with his ring. I want to design a necklace, but I can see how wearing the ring on a necklace can bring such comfort too.

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