Week 33 – The rings

Week 33

There was a very significant event in my life this week and how fitting that it should take place in the ski village of Whistler with the imposing Olympic rings set against the back-drop of the magnificent mountains of British Columbia.

During my time visiting my son in Canada I went to visit a friend of a friend who by some sheer coincidence was staying in Whistler. Her circumstances were similar to mine in that her husband had left her; albeit that it has been two years before and officially divorced so she was a little further on emotionally than me. Swapping stories I felt proud in some ways that I had managed to hold up remarkably well and especially that I had been able to make the step of spring cleaning and getting rid of “stuff” so early, something she had only been able to do in more recent times. Yes, I thought, had been able to rid myself of ‘him’ and his ‘stuff’ very early.

She looked at me surprised and said ‘what about the rings?’ There they were still on my left hand where they had been for 37 years.

It was not that I had purposely left them there. I just did not know what to do with them and with the thoughts that went through my head. And they were different than other ‘stuff’ in that the emotional side went with them, the symbolism of the partnership. In this instance I felt that divorce was SO much worse than becoming a widow. When you become widowed the ‘rings’ are something that become part of the family heirlooms that are passed down generation after generation. They mean so much and they become so treasured. What then for the rings of divorce? Had not I had a successful 37 year marriage? Do I have to abandon everything of those 37 years?

My own rings had a story to them in that when we were the sweet young things and were contemplating marriage we went into a ring shop and put a $1 deposit down on an engagement ring. Sadly within the next few weeks my father suddenly died of a stroke and so we put our engagement off. Six months later when we decided to get actually get engaged we never thought that the shop would have held the ring with only a $1 deposit. We searched and searched but could not find a ring we liked as much as the original one. So went back to the same shop and lo-and-behold the ring was still in their safe. We thought that was a very clear message that our love was meant to be, that the ring was meant to be, and the ring had been treasured by me in all my years of marriage.

What now?

So this friend of a friend decided to take the situation into her own hands and strongly voiced the opinion that as the rings symbolized an eternity of ‘for better or worse’ that no longer held meaning and that it was time that they should go. She grabbed my hands and started taking them off. This – I might add –  ended up to be quite a feat as the rings had almost become embedded into my fingers. Eventually with some soap and some ice and much twisting and turning they came off my hands. I put them in my purse. The next morning she apologized for being so brutal and said that I should make my own decision on whether the rings should stay or go.

With everything in this process that I cannot decide on, I shelved the decision until a later date…… .but I did not put the rings back on.

Two days later when I was enjoying my time by myself at the Capilano bridge I noticed some beautiful American Opal rings set in silver. I bought one for myself. I put it on the the finger of my left hand where my old rings had been. Yes, I know – wrong hand – but conventions no longer mean anything to me so there it stays.

When I returned home to Australia I put my old rings in my ‘sad box’. to deal with at some later date.

So why was this event so significant in my life?

Firstly, one of the emotional links with the marriage – the rings – was finally discarded.
Secondly, I strode ahead as the new ‘me’ by taking myself on a mini-adventure and found that I could enjoy myself – all by myself – and symbolized this with buying my own ring as a symbol of a new relationship with myself for myself. This became my step 7 in my journey to ‘me’, and a vow to be true to myself.
Lastly and most importantly, when I got back home, as I threw my old rings in my supposed ‘sad-box’ and briefly glanced at the other items I had put in there, I thought to myself ……… life is not so sad after-all.

17 thoughts on “Week 33 – The rings

    • Thanks. It was sort of an epiphany, the moment in the shop when I saw the new ring I felt I wanted to buy, in an instant any emotional ties to the old ones were gone, and the symbolism of the new ring for the new true ‘me’ was born.

  1. I wear a ring that my three daughters gave me on my left hand where the wedding ring used to be. I don’t care what people think. I wear an opal ring that I bought myself on my right hand. You’re doing great. Love the post. 🙂

  2. Good for you!

    I still have my wedding and engagement rings in MY sad box which is a little coffin my friends made for me when the divorce went through. I am not to the point of selling them.

    I bought myself a divorce ring that I wear on the ring finger of my left hand. It has “TTOBT” engraved in it. I don’t break vows, so “To thine ownself be true” is still going strong!

    • Yes, that is a great vow to take on. It is amazing as I look at the ring I bought for myself, it does have a special meaning of self discovery that I would never have previously understood. Of not needing any more to be half of a couple to feel complete, of feeling ‘whole’ all by myself, and of being my own true self. Thanks for the reply.

  3. Great post. I took my rings off fairly early. Of course I needed something on that finger that had been claimed and occupied for thirty years, so I went to a local jeweler and had her make me a white gold/yellow gold ring with a beautiful tanzanite stone. Now, here’s where it gets interesting–I was still using D’s VISA so I put it on his account. He paid for it without a word. Well, he did ask later if he could see it. I guess we do what we must when we’re in divorce fog.

  4. I took mine off the night I got the confirmation that he was cheating on me… At that time the divorce wasn’t final yet, but I couldn’t bring myself to wear them any longer. He still wore his a month or so longer… I haven’t bought anything else to put there, the marks are finally starting to disappear, it’s been 8,5 months!

  5. I did do some things defiantly the first few weeks such as removing all his things from the house.I do not know why it took me so long to take my rings off. I think I was basically walking around in a trance those first six months and could not think through the immensity of what had happened.

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