With this ring, I thee wed

ringsOn August 7, 2004 Tony and I spoke those words to each other.  We exchanged rings and vows and promises to stay together until death parted us.  In that sense, Tony kept his vow; but I never expected that he would choose death.

The night that Tony died, one of the police officers ( as awful as that night was I was so blessed to have the people around me that I did.  San Diego’s finest are more than fine.  They’re fantastic.) handed me Tony’s wedding ring.  I put it on my right hand.  I wore it there for a while, and then I wore it on a chain.  Sometimes I’ve worn it inside a beautiful Victorian mourning locket that my beloved sister-in-law gave me.

My own ring is actually too big for me now.  I’ve lost quite a bit of weight in the past six months, and Tony’s ring is smaller than mine.  Now I am wearing his ring in place of my own, the ring I gave him in place of the one he gave me.

I’m not ready to take it off.  I still feel married, in spite of the fact that my husband is dead and has been for more than three months.  It’s just a piece of metal, but it’s not.  It symbolizes so much.  When I looked at Tony on that beautiful August day and promised to love him and honor him in sickness and in health, I meant that.  His sickness ended up being something that consumed him.  That at times threatened to consume both of us.

I do not regret that promise.  I am sure that someday, sometime in the unknowable future, I will remove this ring and put it away.  I am sure, at some point, that I will log onto Facebook and decide that I no longer see myself as married, and I will change my relationship status to something else.  I don’t think of myself as a widow.  I actually hate that word, and I can’t imagine applying it to myself.  But “single” feels completely wrong too.  A lot of the time, “alone” feels like the right word, but that’s not a relationship status so much as it is an emotion.

I wonder how people do this?  I think some people probably never take off that ring that their loved one placed on their finger.  A few times, I have taken it off, just for a minute, just to see how it feels.  I feel naked without it.  It’s become a part of my finger, left a mark that is more than just a slight indentation in my flesh.  It’s on my heart, too.  Even if I remove it and put it away, and that indentation fades until nobody can tell by looking that it was there, nothing can erase the mark it has left on my heart.

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16 thoughts on “With this ring, I thee wed

  1. I know how it is to look back on your vows through a different lens. You loved him so much, and loved him so well. Whenever you get to the place to make the changes you write about here will be exactly the right time. And, of course, I know what you mean, and I know it is how you feel, but you are not alone. Not even close, love. Not ever. xoxo

  2. You are giving us a great deal, Aimee. Probably you think you are writing for yourself alone but you are giving me much. Thank you.

  3. I really liked the bit about the relationship status, and how alone was perhaps the best word for it. I think labels on relationships are stupid, because there is never a perfect word for what goes on between one and the person they are with, and no one can ever fully understand it.
    your writing is so thought provoking.

    • That’s so true Molly, sometimes even the people IN the relationship don’t really understand it. Thanks for continuing to read and comment.

  4. It has been six months since my forever love left. I still wear my ring, his was buried with him. I have the first one that he had on a chain with a locket that has his picture in it.

  5. I’m slowly reading my way through your posts, why? not just because I’m a widow (I hate the word too) but because Don tried to commit suicide in 1996…and in actuality he did die that day…he was never the same again. I was alone even when he was alive…for 13 more years…until at last old age and multiple medical problems released him from his mental and physical pain. He has been gone 3 years and 6 months…I still wear my wedding ring and engagement ring on a chain…I’ve been thinking more, recently, about putting them in my safe deposit box…I’m still not able to. Don fought in WWII and Vietnam…he had PTSD. His first wife and his children would not listen when he tried to explain to them how he felt. Did I, I hope so…but I feel such guilt…I should have done more, listened more, done more, done more!

    this is the music that has helped me:

    Forgiveness sung by Misen Groth (and written by her husband)

    I travel alone
    Throughout an endless journey

    Home … where is my home?
    Fragments of a love life
    I won’t surrender

    When the spirits are calling my name
    Then I will have passed all the sorrow and pain

    And I`ll go to heaven with you
    I´ll lay down my head on your pillow
    and ask for forgiveness

    Once I was just a child
    I saw wide open
    You left me broken hearted

    Fly … I have to fly
    Searching for the light
    I won’t surrender

    When the spirits are calling my name
    Then I will have passed all the sorrow and pain

    And I`ll go to heaven with you
    I´ll lay down my head on your pillow
    and ask for forgiveness

    I … I’m a roamer in time
    I travel alone
    Throughout an endless journey

    Home … where is my home?
    Fragments of a love life
    I won’t surrender

    When the spirits are calling my name
    Then I will have passed all the sorrow and pain

    And I`ll go to heaven with you
    I´ll lay down my head on your pillow
    and ask for forgiveness

    • Thank you so much for reading, and for sharing those beautiful lyrics. I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know when I’ll feel ready to take this ring off my finger, but I’m just trusting that I’ll do it when the time is right. Wishing you a peaceful day today and every day…

      • yes I do believe you’ll know when the time is right…my sorrow for your loss is overwhelming…and the reason for your loss reduces me to tears…and I realize that I’m not yet a healed person but I’m trying

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