with this ring….

“I just sold my wedding ring.  I think I might throw up.”

That’s the text I got from my friend Katrina last weekend.  When I read it, I thought I might just throw up, too.  My tummy did a flip, my throat caught, and my heart sunk.  Oh. My. God.

This action wasn’t exactly unexpected.  Katrina has been separated for over a year and didn’t wear her wedding ring for the last 4 years of her marriage (yes, it was that bad).  So, it’s not like she was strolling through the mall and thought, “Hey, I’ll bet I can get some good dough for this bauble!”, yanked the ring off her finger and plonked it on the jeweler’s counter.  No, this was a long, long time coming.  This was the exit of a symbol that had ended up feeling more like a spiked choke collar around her neck than a token of forever love on her finger.

And yet.

I knew exactly how she was feeling.  Because I was feeling it for her, too.  Katrina and I have known each other since elementary school.  We started dating at the same time.  We dated friends and even cousins.  So many of our shared romantic notions of love and marriage were borne of hours of lying around my room or hers, contemplating the mysteries of boys and marriage and “forever.”   How did we get here?  How did we — two girls who were so very good at long-term relationships, even in our teen years! — land in this pile of the divorce statistics?  I was there the night she met her husband.  I was at her wedding — hell, I was in her wedding party.  How did we not know this was coming? How did we not foresee that someday one of us would be standing at a jeweler’s counter, ridding herself of the very thing that she had most dreamed about for half her life?

I think one of the cruelest aspects of divorce is how you never simply get divorced.  You are divorced.  Forever.   It becomes a permanent part of who you are…. like a scar from a bad car accident on a day that started with so much promise.  And every once in a while, usually when you least expect it, it suddenly dawns on you:  I am divorced.  I did not get forever.  My friends and I live through those moments together in a kind of shared understanding that this is now part of our truth and the rest of our lives may be peppered with these small moments of “Why?”

Katrina recovered from her nausea and was nearly back to herself within a few hours.  At this point, the pain from those moments doesn’t cause us to collapse, only to stumble.  And we have each other to catch us at the elbow, right us again, and send us moving forward once more.

Into forever.

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12 Comments

Filed under divorce, healing, marriage, personal growth, sadness, single mom

12 responses to “with this ring….

  1. A very interesting reflection on post-divorce decisions and letting go.

    I know in my own case, I will never give up my wedding ring; it will stay in the safe forever. It’s not that I attach future meaning to it, but for me, that past with Danielle is a big part of my life (I have three sweet girls to show for it) and the ring is a key memento of that time. I can see that not everyone would see it the same way.

    Your comment that divorced is something you become rather than something you do is intriguing. In essence, you become a ‘recovering divorcee’? Hopefully, that ends or is in abeyance when you find a special someone to start anew with. Or do you end up keeping the ‘recovering’ title forever in some ways? After all, with kids from a marriage, there is always a past that is with you; the skein of Life cannot be completely untangled.

    • I hear you, SD. My wedding rings are locked in the safe. I’m keeping them for my girls, and I’ll let them decide what to do with them, since they are the legacy of the marriage.

      I’m not sure if you’re forever recovering or if that ends with someone new…. Something I’m still waiting to find out. I know that those pangs lessen in intensity when your heart is full of someone else, but I’ve not had the Big Relationship yet to have a definitive answer.

  2. I traded mine in for the new wedding ring. 😀 No kids at that point, of course, and that was the last bit that was left over. I actually was hanging onto it specifically for the trade-in value, and even that was significant to me, because it took a lot not to just chuck it out the window years earlier…..

    • Tikki,

      I think it’s easier to set aside some memories, like a ring, if there are no kids. But maybe some memories are hard to forget if the marriage was very difficult (you mentioned abusive) and that gives you strong inspiration for selling it or inserting it into the ex in a location where he can’t retrieve it for the monetary value. 🙂

      • *nods* I love the visual! Although, that would have resulted in death for me most likely, so it really was just better that I left as I did. And seriously, getting monetary value out of it was good payback of sorts…. 😀

  3. Good for you, TT. I think sometimes that’s the only healthy way. I think it was good for Katrina to do it…. a symbolic break from his abusive clutches.

    • I would have to wonder (and probably think so) if it makes a difference when it was an abusive relationship (as in my case as well) and whether or not there were children. At least you have the kids as a productive outcome of the relationship; whereas it seems when things are just really bad (abusive) the ring is just another reminder of control. Just my musings…. 🙂

      • I wonder about that, too, TT. My guess would be that if there are strong,sustained, negative feelings (for any particular reason), those feelings can be symbolized by the ring. And so in those cases, it seems that it might be good to let go of the symbol and, therefore, maybe let go of some of that negative energy, too.

  4. Mine are in a drawer….and I will probably sell them as the price of Gold is nice and high. At least that will help ameliorate the financial cost of all of this.
    But, I still reach to feel my ring on my finger subconsciously and after 20 months, the dents are still there. Both on my finger and in my heart.
    I have found someone very special….and yet am still haunted by this. So I don’t know if that part will ever go away.

    • Your reference to the dents on your finger reminded me that I promised myself, I would know I could be ready for dating when they had faded away. Today, you’d need to look closely to see the remants of my ring… yay for me!

      • my bone still has the dent in it…it may be there a while

      • I just realized in a funny sort of ironic way that the ring did not become a “part” of me until it had been on for about 7 years. I could always feel it on my finger, banging into the fingers next to it until the bones finally shaped themselves a little differently to accomodate. The ironic part is that I first realized this, that the ring and I were now in sync, in October of 2005…..which is the month that X began her first round of the physical affair with J. Ha Ha

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