What to do with the rings? Print
Grand Mom
Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

Grand Mom by Audrey Mettel Fixmer

Since my husband passed away last spring, I have often looked at my wedding rings wondering: should I be taking them off now? Or should I wear them on another finger? They still represent the love of my life, and I won't pass them on to my oldest daughter until I die.

I began noticing the many widowed friends around me. Some wore nothing like wedding rings, and some wore them on other fingers. We all remember the dramatic story of Jackie Kennedy removing her wedding ring as the wounded Jack lay dying and placing it into his hand. That's not for me. Still, I wanted to know what was right for me. I was hoping to get an answer from Bob.


Each night before I go to bed I go into my den/office and sit quietly with Bob's spirit, praying for him, and talking over the day's happenings and mishaps. I long to hear some answers from him, but nothing came.

For a long time I kept asking God to let me know if Bob was happy. I would even suggest that he take Bob in his arms and tell him how much he is loved. Silly? After all, I had been "taking care" of him for more than 62 years, reassuring him that he was good. Now I needed reassurance.

Then one day it dawned on me to quit looking for proof. I realized that the proof is in our faith. We believe that if we live the sacramental life and do the best we can in the years we are given, God will welcome us to heaven. If I have professed this faith all my life, why do I need proof now?


One morning, as I was leaving church, I stopped for a moment to chat with an old friend. We were standing on the walk between two gardens, laughing about the daily surprises life brings us as we age, the losses of agility, balance, hearing, vision . . . you name it.

Suddenly out of nowhere, but maybe a flower, something stuck a needle into the tip of my left hand ring finger. We never saw the critter, but I will never forget him. I was trying to suppress a scream as I drove home and rushed into my kitchen, grabbing a baking soda box and a few teaspoons of water to form a paste to hopefully draw out the stinger.

When I realized the pain went all the way to my shoulder, I phoned my doctor's office. Upon her advice I had my daughter drive me to the ER while I watched my once-slim finger explode into a fat sausage, burying my wedding rings.


In the ER they took one look at my brat-shaped finger and decided the rings had to come off. The ice packs and the soaking in soapy water didn't help, so they would have to cut them off. That made it more painful, having to insert yet another object between the rings and my finger.

The nurse soon realized that she wasn't strong enough to cut through the "solid gold," so they had to call for reinforcements, a male nurse. One stood on either side of me, each carrying a pliers with which to pull the broken rings far apart enough to lift them off.

It was excruciating, and I wept when it was over, not for the physical pain, but for the sudden awareness of the end of the marriage that they symbolically represented.

That night, with an ice pack on my hand I went to my den to say, "Good night, Bob, and thanks, honey, for your opinion. But next time, could you use a little less violence?"

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