Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Things Change .....

.... whether you want them to or not. I mean ---- obviously, right? I decided to carry forward with both Michele's post and Michelle's post.
After Jim died I never considered removing my wedding rings. Never. I felt it would be on my finger forever. And for many, many months it was.
And then one day ..... that feeling changed. I know that I am still Jim's wife. I will always be Jim's wife .... but to the outside world .... I am not. And so it suddenly felt like I was doing something false by wearing the rings. I in no way think this is true for every widow .... or even most widows .... I just know that one day .... it was true for me.
And so I took them (his and mine) to our local (and much frequented by Jim) jewelry shop and told them what I wanted. The rings fit perfectly inside of each other ..... and I wanted them at an angle. But I also wanted to be able to easily remove them, in case I change my mind down the road, or one of the kids wanted to use them.
This was my design and now I wear it every day (I think if you click on the picture you can see it up close).

Another irony is that several years ago I tore a picture out of a magazine and told Jim that this was the ring I would like for our 25th wedding anniversary. I was giving him fair notice ... he had over 2 years to plan. I had no idea whether he'd do it or not, but I soon forgot about it.
Then, on the Christmas vacation when we had just returned from Italy, we let the kids each unwrap a few, inexpensive toys. The trip to Italy was our gift .... to them and to each other. I had no idea that he had snuck a box into my stocking ...... until he asked my why my stocking was lying next to me and that maybe I should check it. I had no idea what he was up to.
But imagine my surprise when I opened that box and there sat the exact same, beautiful diamond ring that I had asked for our 25th anniversary. I screamed and ran across the room and grabbed him by the neck to hug and kiss him.
Then I asked him why he had given it to me this early ..... still a few years before the actual date. He replied, "We have now known each other 25 years .... I figured it was as good a time as any."
Fortunately for me he didn't wait until the official anniversary (or ironically, depending on you point of view) ..... we never made it to our 25th anniversary. He died 5 months before it. But I still have the ring ...... and I rarely take it off.
It wasn't like Jim to act impetuous and not plan something out to the T. This was a God-Thing. There is no doubt in my mind.
Here is the ring:

The next thing that changed greatly was my desire to have a tattoo. I had NEVER before wanted one, in spite of much pressure from my daughters ..... never planned to.
But suddenly I did ..... and it seemed so right. It still seems so right. I love it. And though it's backwards in this picture .... it's Jim's signature (yes, they can copy that) written over a heart. And then I included our wedding verse underneath it. I love it every day. Every time I see it, I smile. That's why I put it on my wrist .... for me to see .... not for anyone else. I wanted to see it and touch it ..... and remember. And I don't regret it at all. Sorry, that for you ..... it's backwards.
So there you go ...... three random and totally unexpected changes ..... and I'm still OK. Not always, but more and more.
Some weeks are still mired in blackness, some weeks seem a lighter grey and almost a brown.
Other things have changed ..... friendships have shifted. Some have lessened, some have increased. I can't explain any of it ..... nor, most likely can the people involved, but it's true.
Someone once told me that the second year is worse than the first. I had hoped she was kidding.
She was not.
I think people expect us to suddenly "be better" and we sometimes expect that of ourselves. We get tired of being sad. I know I do.
But I'm learning that things change ..... day by day ...... sometimes moment by moment ..... and I'm going to hang on for the ride.
And when an opportunity presents itself in front of me .... I'm going to jump at it now. "Before" I would've said I was too busy .... that I didn't have time. Now I know differently. Things come in front of me for a reason .... and I will look at each and every opportunity ..... because things change.
Sometimes for the worse.
Sometimes for the better.
Many times for the different.
And different can be something very, very good ...... if we allow it.


  1. write so beautifully. Thank you for your explanation of taking your wedding band off. I have a friend who was widowed four years ago and she wore her rings for quite a while and in the last year or so she took them off. That bothered me but I never said anything to her. I know that is just an outward symbol of your marriage. I just had a hard time with her taking them off. I do have a solataire that David gave me and I wear an old wedding band of my mother's that I have worn since she died....i don't know If i will be able to take them off if he goes before me. WE will have been married for 40 years in June and the thought of all of it is more than I can bear. You have given me so much insight and now this with the rings has really helped. The diamond ring appears to be the one with three diamonds across...Yesterday, today and forever..It truly was a God thing. Bless you today and every day...Mary Lou

  2. Mary Lou --
    Thank you .... always .... for your encouragement. And thank you for following me over here on this blog. That means a lot.

  3. Janine, I wonder what will take place in the years to come for me. The ring thing, I'm not sure about. I still wear my wedding band from my first marriage and have never taken it off, just switched hands. John was always ok with that and never questioned me about it. He knew how very much I loved him. One thing I am sure of, is that it will come off before ANY of the other rings I have from John. I do love the idea of your ring and Jim's together, it's beautiful. Right now I wear two necklaces that John's employee's bought me. One has his picture etched on gold, and the other has an actual colored photo of him on it. I love them both and most days I even sleep with them on. As you know, I too have a tattoo. Thirteen weeks after I buried him, I had an appointment to get one. I absolutely love it. It was the best thing that I could have done in his memory. Everything right down to the color has a meaning between us. I too have his signature from a letter, only mine is on my back. This way I know Johnny will always have my back and be behind me. It is just for me, and not for anyone else to see. Although it has great meaning and turned out beautiful. As I'm writting this, I find so many things that you and I seem to think and feel in common, and honestly, it scares me know when I think of my rings being taken off. Life is so unfair, and yes, I know that no one said it was going to be, but I feel like I just exsist right now, and I really don't know why. The love of my life, gone, never to return. I don't understand, and I know you don't either. It really wouldn't matter to me if I knew why this has happened. It isn't a good enough reason. I hate the thought of living life like this, what kind of living is this? I can't even imagine what the second year will be like, I'm having a hard enough time with the first few months. Hugs to you, Lorry

  4. Janine, I so appreciated your writing about "the ring" topic. Abt. 2 mths ago now, I got this sense that it was time to finally move the ring we had designed for our 25th-yr. anniv.--- over to the other hand. I passed a milestone which I had only toyed with before, but I'd always switch back. This time it stuck ....

  5. Janine, Thank you for your writing about "the ring" topic. I guess each story of how we handle this one is as individual as each one of is.
    Abt. 2 mths. ago, I changed over the ring we had purchased for our 25th anniv. to the other hand and I have not moved it back as I had done many times before. I guess this time I was ready ---