Yesterday when I was browsing Word Press I came across the Daily Post (DP) challenge for this week: Tell us about your most meaningful possession, it said.
I knew immediately that I had to talk about my late husband’s wedding ring, which I have had re-sized and always wear on the middle finger of my left hand.
The ring is not adorned with diamonds or fancy etchings; it is simply a plain band of white gold, inscribed with the words “Gary, Love Sylvia” on the inside. The words are faded now, but if I took the ring off and handed it to you and you squinted your eyes really tight and perhaps pulled out a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ magnifying glass, you may just be able to read them. The wedding date, 10/11/72, has either faded completely away or was sacrificed during the re-sizing process, but I well remember the rainy Friday evening in November when we repeated our vows to each other, almost forty years ago.
“A lot of us have wedding rings that we wear and cherish,” you may say.
But not like this ring; this ring may be magical.
“Right,” you say. “And you keep a unicorn in your back yard, don’t you, and you climb a big-rock candy mountain any time you crave sweets.”
Okay, I suppose I deserve that. After all, I haven’t told you the rest of the story about the ring yet, so of course you’re skeptical. But hear me out before you call the men with the straight-jackets.
In the early fall of 2009 Gary began to lose weight–a lot of weight, and his wedding band became quite loose on his finger, but he kept it on; he had worn that ring every day for thirty-seven years and wasn’t about to leave it on his dresser just because it was a little bit loose.
Then one day that October when we were sitting in the living room, Gary glanced down at his left hand and said, “I don’t have my ring on.”
We searched the house high and low. We searched his truck and my car. We searched the garage, the large shed that Gary had been building in the back yard, the front and back yards, the driveway. I even inquired at the hospital to see if the ring had perhaps come off when Gary had an endoscopy procedure there and someone had turned it in.
Gary felt terrible about losing the piece of jewelry he had worn since he was nineteen and that symbolized our love for each other, but the ring was gone.
I had thought I would give him a new wedding band for Christmas that year to replace the lost one, but that wasn’t in the cards, either.
Gary died December 13, 2009, one month to the day after being diagnosed with cancer.
The next fall I flew to Alberta to spend several weeks with my brother and sister-in-law, and I arrived back in New Brunswick shortly after what would have been my thirty-eighth wedding anniversary.
My son met me at the airport, drove me home, and after he carried my bags in from the car we sat down in the family room to catch up.
“Mom,” he said, “I have something to show you. I know that it’s going to make you sad, but I think it’s going to make you happy, too.”
I didn’t know what to expect.
I began to cry.
“What? Where did you find it?”
“It’s really weird, mom,” he said. “I was having a cigarette in the garage a few nights ago and saw something shiny on the garage floor, right in front of the overhead door. I figured it was a bottle cap or a quarter or something so went over to pick it up. When I did, I realized it was Dad’s wedding band.”
I shook my head. “That doesn’t make any sense,” I said. “We’ve been in and out of that garage a million times this past year, and your father and I searched it last year when it first disappeared…how could it just show up now?”
“Mom,” my son said, “it really was just sitting there, in the open, as if someone laid it there for me to find.”
That night when I finally crawled into bed and tried to sleep, I couldn’t. Where had the ring been for the last thirteen months? What made it show up now?
After a few days I gave up trying to find a logical explanation for the ring’s return and decided to just be thankful that it came back.
But I still wonder.
Is it a magical ring and it reappeared because it was lonely wherever it was, and if it isn’t a magical ring, what other explanation is there? Was it somehow an anniversary present to me from Gary, a sign from him that love really is eternal?
What do you think?
Okay, if you still want to call the men in the white suits, I completely understand and I won’t put up a fight. Just tell them to please be gentle with me, and make sure they know that I won’t take off my rings.