One of the significant questions, dilemmas and decisions a widow/er has to face it when to take off the wedding ring.
What is the ring all about and what is its significance?
So many cherish the sacredness of the ring; it symbolizes you are committed to another through thick and thin. It symbolizes a unity, faith, trust, honesty, love. It provides safety and security.
Widowed people are not eager to give up those privileges and rights.
Speaking on behalf of many, but of course not all, widows and widowers, when the loss of a marriage occurs to the death of a spouse it is very unique and not the ‘norm’ to what our society may be accustomed to or have the ability to understand; especially if it was not an elderly widowhood.
Most of the widowed that I have helped coach over the years were in a good standing of their marriage at the time of death. Sure you have the seven year itch and stresses of finances, raising children, careers and balancing it all, but they were devoted and committed for the long haul. So, one big difference between losing a spouse to death vs. divorce or another type of breakup is that the love is still going strong and it wasn’t a choice. Hence, it is a completely different process. The longing, yearning, bargaining, and searching plays a big part in adjusting to this significant change. There is a lot less, if any, animosity, resentment, betrayal, hate, anger and other negative feelings present. There aren’t the custody battles or the alimony frustrations present. The image and reputation of marriage hasn’t been tainted.
Many widowed people still feel married long after the death of their spouse. Many still use the ‘we’ pronoun in conversations and reference. Moving on and dating can be the last thing on their mind.
Taking off the wedding ring can be difficult because it can be that dose of reality that your spouse is truly gone and the marriage is over. That dose of reality that you are alone. That dose of reality that you have to make it.
Or it can be a milestone and a sign that you are going to be okay. You may not be fully ready for the new chapters in your life and you are going to embrace life day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment.
My personal story had a big significant sign in helping me know when it was time. I was in Mary Kay at the time of my husband’s sudden and untimely death. I had been in for about five years and came home from conference one year with an agenda of moving my career up the ladder and become a director so that my husband could retire from the construction field within three years. He and I sat down and mapped out the next year’s goals to the day. He was on board, I was on board, it was a team decision and we were pumped. Three weeks later, he was killed in a construction accident.
One of the main things that kept me somewhat coherent over the next 12 months was the commitment I made to him and in front of him that I was going to be on the queen’s court of sales and win MY diamond ring. He knew how much I loved jewelry and diamonds and he was all for me winning something he didn’t have to buy.
I really don’t know how I did it. I indeed accomplished that goal and he was my driver. The next year I went to conference knowing that I was going to walk across stage and receive my FREE diamond ring. It was bittersweet because he was supposed to make this trip with me and I had to accept that he was there with my in spirit. I DID IT!
When I got home from that trip, the kids were still over at the grandparents. I had a chance to unpack and unwind from all of the excitement and stimulation from the last three days. This overwhelming notion came over me to take my engagement ring, wedding band and ten year anniversary band off and place it in my jewelry box with HIS wedding band. It felt right. It felt like that’s where they belong…. Together.
My words of wisdom to the widowed; do it when it feels right. The amount of ‘time’ that has passed since their death is irrelevant!
My words of wisdom to the widowed’s’ friends and family; don’t judge. It’s not about you and your opinions.
Copyright 2013 Cynthia Gossman, Life After Loss Healing Solutions, LLC
Excellent. Loneliness was the biggest obstacle to over come for me. I do believe that since I have no family of my own around me it has taken longer for me to get past my husbands death but your writings seem to have hit that spot
That says I am not alone. Thank you. Jill Couch
Response: Hi Jill,
It always brings joy to my heart and soul when I can connect with another widow, validating the multitude of emotions and phases that accompany us on this journey. I am happy that you are finding comfort and support here at Life After Loss Healing Solutions. Thank you for your kind words and stay tuned in. Feel free to like my facebook page as well for more inspiration and hope.
Love and Joy,