This morning driving to work, I was acutely aware that my wedding ring was not on my finger. Every once in a while, I feel the absence of my ring. It still can take my breath away.
Mind you, my ring and his have been in my jewelry box since fall of 2008. He died in March of that same year.
I had been wearing both of our rings on my hand since two weeks after the accident. For those who know me, that was no small feat.
At the scene of the accident, I asked the officer for his wedding ring. He went to his body and then came back to me and told me that it was not on him. I began sobbing again. The paramedic who had been assigned to stay by me went over to the cars and started looking. I didn't think that I would ever see it again. It was heartbreaking to me. Fast forward a few days. After the funeral, when the funeral home brought me his personal effects, his "ring" was there. At that moment in time, it looked like a twist tie, all knotted and mangled. I stood in my living room held it in my hand leaned onto my father and cried. I cried, and sobbed. That mangled ring, was proof of how badly he was mangled in the accident. Thing about that, what had to have happened to his beautiful hand and arm to MANGLE his ring like that. I cried at the realization that my precious husband was literally shorn to pieces in the accident. I cried at the realization that he would never wear his ring again. My father took it out of my hand and put it into the baggie it came to me in and put it in his pocket. When he went home a few days later, he went to the jeweler that he has always gone to and had his ring "remade" for me into my size, complete with the etching.
My mom flew back and gave it to me on our Wedding Anniversay a week later. I cried again. I put it on my hand and there it stayed.
It stayed until later that year. I was at work and I reached down into a drawer and both rings slid off of my hand. His rolled away from me and my heart stopped. At that point, I knew it was time to take them off and put them away. So I did. It took me a long time to stop feeling my ring on my hand. For a long, long time, every time I moved my fingers or looked at my hand I felt the emptiness and absence of our rings. I tried wearing other rings, but it just didn't work for me.
Over time, the vacancy left on my finger gradually faded. It became less over time-I almost don't notice it unless I think about it, or catch a glimpse of someone else's ring. Then I notice that I no longer have mine on. I feel his absence and at times, I feel like my lack of a ring sets me apart.
Other times, like today and often for no reason at all, I feel the absence of the ring. Sometimes, it just feels like it should still be on my hand-in that same breath, I feel like I should leave them put away. I think that the pain in wearing the rings again would make me notice his absence even more than I already do. So the rings sit in my jewelry box and I take a deep breath and wait for the void on my hand to pass.