Since Bob died rings have been a constant in my life. What to do with them, which to wear, what do they mean – lots of questions. Some friends, I suspect, think I am obsessed with the symbolism of the rings. For me they are not jewelry – they are symbols and I have been trying to interpret them.

For several months I wore both of our wedding bands and that was so helpful to me. Then I took them off and bought a new band to represent new vows that symbolized our new relationship and that brought a certain clarity to where I was and what my new reality was. Then I wore none; I did not like that, it felt harsh and alone. And I don’t like naked fingers! Then I went back to the “vow” ring and my wedding band and that has felt supportive and protected. I can’t quite describe why I ascribed so much meaning to the rings but it felt right and important. I think it was my effort to sort out who I was as a widow and what my continued responsibilities and relationships were and are. And, of course, when I was wearing Bob’s band it felt like a welcome connection to someone I miss dearly.

For a week or so now I have been feeling that I don’t want any rings that represent us – wedding bands, vow ring, interim wedding band (when I could not wear my wedding band because of a finger injury). A couple of nights ago I took all of the rings off.

The feelings since then have surprised me. I have felt free. Still sad often, but no longer tied to the past. Many of the things that have been happening in my life in the past year and a half (almost) have been separating me from the things that were Bob and me. I am teaching Qigong classes and writing – both new since Bob died and I love both of them. I am doing little living history, little television watching, and little shooting. They were the things Bob and I did together. I have missed Bob, but I have not missed those activities and that has surprised me. I am becoming a different person in many ways.

And I have felt supported – by Bob. I think I am close to ready to become the next me without concern for who I was – knowing that Bob has been supporting this transition from the start. Maybe we are both reaching the point of pursuing our new lives (I am not sure what else to call Bob’s journey) because we both know that the other is okay. I can’t speak for Bob, but I am okay with much that is going on in my life. I still miss him terribly, but it almost feels like going off to college. You step out into a new world knowing that Mom and Dad are hours away and that you are going to make it or not on your own efforts and what your life is like in this new school is up to you. Are you going to make it an amazing growth experience or hide in your dorm room and only study what is in the books? I think Bob is on that same journey. I think we are both headed to the great growth experience. The bumps are still there, but it is less like a roller coaster and more like a new back road to explore. Looking forward to this new road, even with the bumps.

What ring now? I am thinking about a new ring. I looked briefly on line I was surprised and pleased that the ring that appealed to me most was a simple turquoise and silver ring that cost $24. The simplicity is what drew me in – and the color. Two things I want in my new life.