6.09.2011

With this ring...

It's been 7 months now since Jer died...

and I haven't been able to take off my wedding ring. Nor have I been able to take off my necklace with Jer's wedding ring on it. I think I left the house without my ring on once, and the second I realized it thought I was going to have a panic attack.

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I started reading a book by another widow who said she took her ring off immediately because she didn't want to pretend to be something she wasn't. And I instantly thought "Am I pretending? Am I trying to be something I'm not? Why can't I take it off?" I know there is no protocol for this. I know some people can take their rings off sooner than others. But I was wondering why I in particular have such a hard time with even the idea of parting with these pieces of jewelry. For anyone who knew Jer and I as a couple knows that my rings are important for a few reasons.

First of all, Jeremy proposed to me 3 times. That's right, three. The first time he proposed to me with the necklace I now wear with his ring on it. He had gotten me the necklace for Christmas, but the chain was too short. He went home to return it in exchange for money to go toward a ring, but he couldn't so instead he bought a new chain and proposed to me with the necklace. If you knew Jer, you knew he wasn't very fancy, or showy. It wasn't well planned out, but it was heartfelt and the excitement I saw in his eyes outside of DC at Rochester College that day is stored in my heart forever. I don't even think he got down on one knee, but I didn't even care. I was over the moon.

The second time was when he finally got enough money to buy me an engagement ring. I knew he was going home for the weekend, but he didn't say much about it I think in hopes to surprise me - like I'd forget something like that. I remember him calling me on the way back from Canada, and trying to get it out of him, but he wouldn't say anything. He just asked if he could take me out to dinner when he got back. So, of course, I'm giddy like a little school girl and we decide to eat at Applebees because it was our thing back then (we LOVED their ranch and mozzarella sticks and frozen kiwi lemonades) - and it was one of our first dates. This time I was actually expecting him to get down on one knee. But, he didn't. We weren't even sitting across from each other, we sat next to each other. So, mid conversation he just kind of pulls it out of his pocket and gives it to me. I could tell he was so nervous (even though, remember, he had already technically proposed and of course knew I was going to say yes) and to see a big guy like that so vulnerable was just about the sweetest thing ever.

I was never really upset about the informal proposals, but I loved to give Jer a hard time about it. I used to tease him that he never gave me a proper proposal. He used to say some day we'd travel the world, go to Europe and he'd have the money to buy me ring he thought 'I deserved' and give me a formal, fancy pants proposal. And I told him he could never pull it off - he'd be red up to his ears of embarrassment doing something so sentimental and romantic in public.

July 3, 2006 was one of the worst days of my life until Jer died. It was day I lost my wedding ring. We were boating in Houghton Lake and it fell right off into the water. I screamed, wailed, and hollered until everyone on the boat was crying too. The worst part was that Jer wasn't on the boat, he was on shore watching Faith who was only a couple months old at the time, so I had to tell him what happened. It was awful. I cried all day. I fell asleep that night in Jer's arms crying. My ring was hardly worth anything but it meant the world to me because there was much love behind it. Jer kept trying to reassure me that it was no big deal and we'd get another one but I was crushed.

The last picture of my first wedding rings...



October 1, 2006 Jer bought me a new wedding band (my engagement ring and wedding band were soldered together so I lost them both). It was waiting for me opened on the coffee table when I got home from grocery shopping. When Jer got excited about something, he couldn't wait to finesse a plan of execution...he'd end up giving it away. I could always tell when he was trying to do something romantic for me. Anyway, no proposal there and we didn't even celebrate it much because in my grocery bags was a pregnancy test that revealed we were pregnant with Caleb. Big day. But I remember calling all our family and friends that day and I kept looking over and my ring finger and smiling with a full, warm heart.

February 27, 2008 - my third and final proposal. We had just gotten our tax return back, and even though we had already determined what the money should be used for, Jer was driving home from Gander Mountain, passed a Jared's Jewelers and on a whim decided to buy me a beautiful engagement ring instead. He really was romantic. And in true Jeremy fashion, he was just too excited to wait to give it to me, so he had his friend Chris keep me distracted with his wife for the day (little did he know, it was Chris' birthday the next day, so we were decorating his office at work and trying to keep the boys distracted as well). It made for a funny scene, when the four of us saw each other that night, each of us with smirks on our faces from the surprises the others didn't know about.

I don't remember the details of driving home. I think Jer must have put the kids to bed for me, and told me to wait downstairs. I knew he was up to something, but I wasn't sure what. In true Chandler and Monica form (Friends was our favorite show to watch together), he led me up to our bedroom filled with lit candles. He turned around, got down on one knee, and showed me the ring. I was so shocked to see him down on his knee, I barely remember what he said! He said something about being sorry he never proposed to me properly, but that I was worthy of so much more. I smile and ache remembering how much that guy loved me. I've never known anything like it. The ring was perfect, the moment was perfect. And I had both the rings insured to make certain they could be replaced if something ever happened to them again.

The day after my perfect proposal. Third time's a charm

When I look at my wedding rings, I know why I can't take them off. I can't face that this is all really happening yet. I would tell anyone who would listen about my multiple proposals (how many girls can say that?!?) and looking at them remind me of how much that man loved me. It was such a feat to get these rings, how could I possibly take them off? But, it's also a wall that I'm comfortably staying behind. It keeps people at bay asking if I'm single. Maybe it wouldn't be so uncomfortable if I didn't have three kids in tow everywhere I go. I do not want the judgement that comes with a mother of 3 kids and no ring.

I don't know when I'll be ready to take them off. I've thought about just adding my rings to Jer's on my necklace, but I haven't been able to do that. My hand doesn't look right without them there. I don't want to pretend or be something I'm not, but right now I'm still living every minute for him, to make him proud, so I don't feel like I'm pretending. I know I'll have to remove them someday.

Just not today.

26 comments:

Brooke said...

I had wondered when this might come up, only because I thought about if I were in your place the other night. I contemplated if I would EVER remove my ring. I eventually came to the conclusion that at some point, I would probably just move it over to my right hand. At some point.

In your heart, you're still his wife. You aren't pretending.

Sending good juju and prayers your way.

BeeMore said...

You aren't pretending. That was just the author's feelings about her rings. We are spiritual beings having a human experience and when we are wed we become one. Jer spirit lives. So I feel there is nothing pretend about wearing the rings that signifies your unity. I know you still feel him. He is still in your heart. You see him in the smiles of your children. He will forever be apart of you and who you both were together on this side of glory and that is real. You take your time. >hugs<

K Blue said...

What a beautifelt heartfelt story. Thank you for sharing such sweetness about your Jer. And you are right. Everyone is different, so just do what is right for you. I wore dh's ring around my neck for one year, because that worked for me. I wore my e-ring until I started dating my now hubby. But I kept my wedding band on for months after that. Praying for you still.

Ashley said...

I completely understand. I would be in the same boat. I will be praying for you!

A different Brooke said...

I say where them as long as you like. My 93-year-old grandmother was widowed 40 years ago and wore hers up until about 5 years ago, when her fingers became too thin for them to stay on. She wears them on a necklace now. She always believed my grandfather was the only man for her, and I think it's the most romantic sentiment I've ever heard of. You'll always be his wife, no matter what. Where them as long as you see fit. Hugs to you.

Zookeeper Jess said...

You are always his wife, whether he is with you or not. I try to put myself in your shoes (just thinking of it brings a panic and tears - my heart hurts for you) and I don't believe I could ever take it off. Do this in your own time. If you don't want to ever take it off, then don't. It's a piece of him with you and fond memories that will always be with you. I can imagine why you'd want to keep it on.

Hugs and prayers.

Joannah said...

One of the books I read shortly after becoming a widow advised removing wedding rings and taking down pictures of the deceased. I guess the author's reasoning was that one wouldn't be able to move on otherwise. I found those ideas to be very upsetting, and I have never recommended that book to another widow.

My husband passed fourteen months ago, and I still wear my rings. I also wear his ring on my right hand. My feeling is that unless I'm looking for another relationship (and I'm not), there is no reason not to wear our rings. They make me happy, and I still feel very much like Michael's wife.

What wonderful memories of his proposals. Michael did not properly propose, and I gave him a hard time about it throughout the first year of our marriage. Then on our first anniversary trip, he bought a cheap ring (made my finger turn green), in San Francisco's Chinatown, and proposed to me in our hotel room. It was lame, but he was earnest and we were happy. That's all that matters.

Anyway, do what feels right for you. Where your rings as long as you like. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

The Better Baker said...

I SO agree - you are NOT pretending. Everyone has to do what they feel in their heart is right, and I say if you feel in your heart you need to wear it, then keep it on! Thanks for sharing more of your precious life with your sweetie. God bless you richly today.

Missy said...

I loved your proposal stories!
Those rings represent you guy's love for each other, and that's still very much alive. There's no pretending there!

Janet said...

What a story! :) You're still married even though he is in heaven so you are not pretending something you're not. You'll know when is the right time; if ever. My heart breaks for you Vee. My b/d is 11/9 and I will never take my b/d for granted again. I will continue to lift you and your children up for prayer.

Anonymous said...

I don't see it as pretending at all. I see it as you are a woman in love and your rings symbolize that love. You will know when it feels right to remove them, and if it never feels right, you leave them on. There are no rules.

Jackie said...

I would be doing the same thing....it would be so hard to remove it. And as Brooke said, you're still his wife in your heart, so it's not pretending at all. Lots of hugs and prayers. :)

Glenda said...

I'm sure when you feel it in your heart and soul you will either move them to your right hand, move them to your necklace with his or put them in a safe place for Faith.

I too was proposed 3x's. :) (had to share that too) The first time we were sitting in the parked car. No ring. Just his love and our future plans. I of course said YES. Second and third time with anniversary bands and he did get down on one knee, because I like you gave his crap about not going down on his knee or even having a ring. But our love was so strong that I didn't need a ring; we knew we were getting married.

Peace and strength and much blessings to you and the kiddos.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Pretending what? To be in love? I don't think so! You wear those rings Vee and don't think twice about it. *Hugs and prayers*

Danielle_Wright said...

Veronica, you are not pretending! not even a little. You still love him, he is still your husband, and you have the tie of your kids that keeps you close to him. I think you will just know when you are ready to take them off if that day ever happens. I think with this whole process of figuring out what to do, there just become a time when you feel the right answer for your questions. You will know. You are not pretending!

Anonymous said...

I didn'take mine off until a little after a year. I had my wedding band resized and still wear it on my right hand.

You do whatever you feel is best for you.

Diane

Ann Cser said...

Today marks 18 months for me and I don't take my rings off either. I still feel a connection to him. While I have opened the door to dating and I am sort of seeing someone, I still wear my rings. I used to wear his ring around my neck along with his ST. Monica medal until the chain broke. So, just know that you are not alone and you are not pretending. You are still his wife and you will always be his wife.

Tiffany said...

I don't think you are pretending at all! I think that this is something that will be right when the time is right and until then, there is no reason for you to take those rings off your finger. Praying for you!

~Tiffany
http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

Sammy said...

Leave them just where they belong- on your finger. You are not pretending. You are Jeremy's wife. And you have a beautiful story.

Birdie said...

You're his wife. Just you. There's no pretending! You don't necessarily have to ever remove them, that's your choice, and noone else's business! I think the three proposals all sound very sweet

Emily said...

Not today indeed! I agree with so many of the comments from others. (You've got some seriously amazing support in these ladies!) Like so many others have said, you do whats right for you.

Rebekah said...

I love these little pieces of your love story. Keep doing what you're doing, only you will know when it's time to shut doors and open others.

Kristin said...

My husband will be gone 2 years next month, and I have never removed my rings from my left hand. Not even once. And Chris' ring is still on a chain around my neck. I still feel like Chris' wife. I don't ever intend to take them off. I do realize I am only 33 years old, and I don't know what the future holds, and in the off chance I do ever find someone that I can love the way I love my husband, then maybe then I'd move Chris' rings to my right hand. But I don't see myself ever not wearing them. Neither Chris nor I chose to end our marriage. He will always be my husband.

Hugs to you. I know how tough this journey is.

criticalcrass said...

far too many women out there are deprived of the love you and your husband must've shared, myself included. those rings of yours symbolize the awesomeness of that. and if i were you, i'd never take them off. ever. at the most, i'd switch them from the left to the right. but even then, that'd be hard for me to do.

Tamara Johnson said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful pieces of your story. There is no pretending; your love is as tangible as anything I can reach out and touch. Only you can decide when you are ready. Love you lots!

Amanda said...

Hi Vee....I am so sorry I have not gotten to check in with you in awhile but I wanted you to know that I ma thinking of you and praying for you.

I also wanted to say that my dad has been gone for over 15 years and my mother still wears her wedding rings...that's right....she has two or three sets from him.

If you ever need anything please know I am here and I love you!!!!!!!!!!

Manda

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