It’s been 2.5 years (well, actually 2 years 3 months and 19 days if you want to be exact) since my marital status changed from married to widowed. And yet my left ring finger still sports the band my husband gave me 18 years ago when he promised we’d be together forever.
For me, it’s been a no-brainer to keep my ring on. So much so that I found it surprising to learn other widows have grappled with the issue of whether to keep it on or take it off.
Like so much else associated with widowhood, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether you should keep wearing your wedding ring after the death of a spouse. It’s a highly personal decision; listen to your heart.
As for me, here are five reasons why I’ve continued to wear my ring for the past 841 days.
1. I still feel married.
In the weeks after my husband died, I had an overwhelming feeling that he wasn’t dead. He was just gone. Maybe he was visiting friends. Maybe he was at work. But either way, one day I’d walk into the kitchen and there he’d be.
I’ve stopped feeling like I’m going to walk into a room one day and see my husband, but I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that he’s simply gone for a while. I still talk to him in my head, and when the conversation calls for it, I make up answers from him. Is that healthy? I don’t know. It’s what I do.
He still feels like my husband; I still feel married to him. And so I still wear my wedding ring.
2. I’m not dating.
Perhaps it’s because I still feel married, but I have no plans to begin dating again. Actually there are many reasons I don’t think I’ll ever date again, but that’s a whole other post.
Suffice to say, for now, I’m off the market, and I think my ring makes that fairly clear to anyone who might be wondering.
3. It makes me feel better about being out alone with 5 kids.
While I often did things alone with my kids prior to my husband’s death, I now feel very self-conscious about being out alone with them at times. On occasion, it seems like the unasked question from strangers is “where is Dad?”
I like to think my wedding ring sends a signal that, yes, there was (is) a Dad. No, I didn’t randomly have five children without a plan. It’s just that the universe threw me the proverbial wrench.
I know most people could probably care less that I’m alone with five kids, and for those who do have an opinion, I know I shouldn’t care what they think. But I do. And my wedding ring makes me feel better.
4. I feel safer when people come to the house.
Personally, I’m fairly oblivious to the jewelry on other people’s fingers. However, I’ve come to realize that some people do pay attention to these things. The first time I noticed it was when, a few months after my husband died, a plumber looked at my finger and then asked if my husband was handy.
Since then, I’ve decided I’m happy if service people and others who visit the house think there is a possibility a big brawny man will be walking through the door at any minute. Even though I realize I’m probably deluding myself, wearing my ring makes me feel safer about being home alone.
5. He’s still wearing his.
Finally, at risk of sounding morbid, I still wear my wedding ring because my husband is still wearing his.
When it came time to close the casket before his funeral Mass, I was asked if I wanted it. I waffled and asked the man from the funeral home what he thought. He said that since it was a simple gold ring, he would probably leave it. After all, it was my gift to my husband and so he should get to keep it. That made sense to me. My husband will wear his ring for eternity and, at least for now, so will I.
Do you still wear your wedding ring? Let me know why you decided to take it off or leave it on. I’d love to hear how others have approached this issue.