It was a perfectly normal summer evening when everything changed and I became a widow. 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 ziploc 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. That was last year and I am still so happy that I found that ring. It had always been a mystery. But now, what should I do with the ring? I am in the process of making some changes to my home. I think a new kitchen and bathroom may be in the works. It may also be time to put away some photos. I think the renovations will help me pack up the memories and mementos, and try some new design ideas. When we first moved into our home with our 4 and 7 year old, we bought new couches. But we saved money on some expenses. We bought a sturdy dining room set from local second hand store. We put in some elbow grease. After sanding and staining the table, painting the chairs and buying new cushions we declared it our own. It was always going to be a temporary thing but here I am putting pumpkins on that table in an effort to celebrate the season of Fall. After 3 years I have started to let go of a lot of things. Some are physical, like old clothes in his closet, and some are emotional, like crying all the time. I am so glad that I found his ring, but I am not sure what to do with it. It is special, just like our marriage was. Creating a new piece of jewelry, just like renovating parts of the house, may be the way to go. The house was something that we loved. We pinched ourselves all the time that we were so lucky to live here. We were also so lucky to have had a good marriage. We may not have always realized it, but we were happy and in love until the end. I’ve debated moving, but this is a house and location that I love. The positives still outweigh the sad parts and this is where I want to be right now (when I’m not traveling). Last year I finally did take off my wedding ring. I kept it on my left hand for 2 1/2 years. I moved the engagement ring, which had also been my grandmother’s, to my right hand. It is the right place for it to be now. Do widows wear wedding rings? I’m open to suggestions on his ring. Moving forward is not a steady road, but it is a path I am stumbling along the best way I able.