Another 4th of July—another wedding anniversary for the books. Dan left on April 15, 2021, so the first anniversary without him came up just three months after his burial.
At just over two years of loss, this is my third time to mark our wedding anniversary without him.
On this very public holiday in the U.S., I now honor the day by myself, or with others—my choice, but somewhat complicated since I juggle my introverted tendency to be alone with the custom of family celebrations with food, fun, and fireworks.
The weeks preceding the big day found me wondering about my wedding rings; the root of a common question I’ve heard from others since first being widowed: To Wear or Not to Wear.
So of course, I Googled the question.
The first answer arrived from a jewelry store offering solutions for keeping the ring in another way; a solution-focused answer that dodged the “why” and assumed that one would remove their ring at some point. Popular responses included wearing it on your right hand, or on a special chain to be worn around your neck, or embedding the ring into the gravestone, or repurposing it into a new piece of jewelry.
A wealth of ideas, but nothing clicked for me.
Soon after Dan passed I came to a decision about “his” ring quite rapidly and without long deliberation. I took it to a jeweler to have it sized for me and using the gold taken from it (and adding a bit more) created a golden spiral to represent our continued, yet mysterious, journey together.
Some time after, I adapted the idea, deciding to wear both rings, mine and his, on my left hand, which I have been doing the past two years.
Finally, on the full moon of July 3, 2023, I came to a temporary decision that represented one-small-step in moving toward action. I decided I would wear both rings on my right hand. Finally, my intuition kicked in.
As an interim step toward that goal,
I told myself, I would take off my rings for one day.
So I took them off.
When it came to my right hand idea, I hit a dead-end.
I could not get the rings on my right hand.
How interesting when undertaking a difficult decision that sometimes our body, or the practical circumstances of our life, make the decision for us.
The skin visible once the rings were off show an indentation—a wedding band footprint on my finger.
Seeing the indelible smoothness that resembles my wedding band, the temporary decision feels right for me.
Deciding not to decide creates space for honoring both the knowing and not-knowing parts of me.
For now, my ring is off.
When I look at my hand with its marriage footprint, I know that whatever decision I make about the symbol of “us” is mine alone to make.
There’s no rush to know, or to act, or to understand.
Along the path of my widowed journey, I can experiment with choices and decisions in my own way, in my own time.
And so can you.