I love my wedding ring. My husband was a true romantic. He proposed to me on the Isla Mujeres – the Island of Women near Mexico, searched the jewellery district in New York to find me a vintage engagement ring and then had my wedding ring made for me by a small family run jeweller in Hatton Gardens. There were no half measures about love for him. Love was big. It’s been a year and half since he passed away and I have no desire to remove my wedding ring. I haven’t worn by engagement ring since he died. When he was alive I never really wore my rings every day, I was always afraid of catching them on clothes while working – so I wore whenever the mood stuck and always for special occasions. Since he died my engagement ring stays in a cute little vintage ring box. I looked at it for the first time in a year and a half and broke down sobbing. I couldn’t even try it on. It felt like there was no point.
Now, since my husband passed away I can’t leave the house without wearing my wedding ring. I feel obsessed, lost and unsafe without it. I don’t feel single, and I know I’m not married any more. Those words “until death do us part” didn’t mean much to me when I got married, but now as a widow – it means not married. The strange thing is I don’t feel unmarried or single like I did before meeting my husband. I still love my husband, but ‘in love’? No, and I loved being in love.
I feel safe, protected when I wear my wedding ring. There is a status in wearing my ring, I don’t want to look divorced, I don’t want to be single. I don’t really want this life but here it is anyway. After loss, many women move their wedding ring to their right hand, or wear it on a chain, or have it made into something else. Right now I have no desire for this, I’m not ready to make space for this new life, but maybe in time. I think there is a Jewish ritual about taking off the wedding ring, I’m not Jewish but a ritual and acknowledgement seems like a like a good idea.
There is no right time to take off your ring. I know women who took their ring off the day their husband died and I know other women who wore their rings until their death. When you choose to take off your ring, the decision is a significant milestone in the journey of grief and I’m just not there yet.