Rings

For whatever reason, rings have always had a very strong symbolic power to me. They are more than jewelery, in fact, I don’t really consider them accessories like bracelets, or earrings or necklaces, rings are different. You’ll never see my hands covered in rings, my fingers are naked, except for the symbol that is currently part of me.

They are statements, indicators, announcements, memories, and they can even be chains, they mean something more than just making yourself a little more bling….

I’ve worn many rings in my life, and I’ve also given a couple to people I’ve loved. As they mean so much to me, the act of me giving one to someone bears the same weight as me receiving one. This doesn’t always match with how they feel about the symbol, but that’s OK, we can’t all be the same after all.

I remember when my family moved back to Canada in ’87, my parents had put a ton of furniture into storage when we left for Europe, which was now the family furniture in our big blue house. I was in the basement one day poking through stuff, opening unfamiliar drawers, examining the papers, pictures, albums, memories, slices of my parents lives before I came around. I’ve always been interested in peoples stories, how they came to be, their influences.

I remember opening a drawer in a wooden desk, enjoying some pictures of my hippy parents when they were just married in their early 20’s, and my fingers stumble upon a chunk of rust. At first I thought it may be some old rusty bolt, yet I didn’t discard it, something about it felt different. I brought it up to my mother who knew what it was immediately, it’s your fathers old ring she tells me, hold on, I know how to clean it.

Within moments she presents me with a gleaming silver band, almost a centimeter wide, edged rounded down, and I immediately put it on the middle finger of my left hand. Aside from my life as a child in Europe, I’ve never had a strong or close relationship with my father, even though I’ve always wanted one. Wearing his old ring gave me a sense of being connected to him in a special way.

That ring stayed on my finger for a few years, we had it resized for me as I continued to grow, then at one point it simply cracked along the seam that was created while resizing it. I don’t remember why, but I decided to retire it instead of trying to fix it, it sat in a drawer for years after that.

I showed the remnants of the ring to a girlfriend I had after having moved to Montreal. She saw how special it had been to me through my words and my eyes, and she gifted me with a new ring one day, almost exactly like the old one, and I loved her for it, and wore it proudly, it was a link from my past to my present. It reminded me of the connection I had been trying to create with my father via the original ring, and at the same time solidified my connection to her.

I honestly don’t know what happened to that ring, in fact, I don’t even remember which of my first two long term girlfriends got me it…. mists of time and all that

I recall buying myself a ring at the Highland Games festival while dating the second one, it had intriguing Celtic markings upon it. I didn’t wear it long, it had no meaning to me, it was just pretty, an accessory, something to fill that naked finger that had gotten so used to having something upon it. I lost it, and didn’t care.

On July 31st 2010, Becca placed my wedding ring on my finger as I placed her ring on her hand. This one meant the world to me. Again, it was fashioned similarly to my fathers ring, simple, wide, and silver. I would fiddle with this ring constantly, spinning it around my finger, staring at it, in all honesty, I think I loved my ring more than she loved hers. I would flash it to everyone, especially during our honeymoon, with my big face splitting grin, as if to say “see!, she chose me!”. I loved being married, even though our marriage was doomed from the beginning, I absolutely loved it and I made sure everyone knew it.

I’m looking forward to being married again one day if the fates gift me with that honor….

now, I guess we get to the ring I actually wanted to talk about, the one that I still wear, and has only been removed three times (and each time I ended up panicking, “wheres the fucking ring!, GAH!”).

Becca and I thought we could make it, right up to the end, right up to March 27th of last year, H-day. Six weeks before that fateful day, right at, or around, Valentines day, while we’re both standing in his old kitchen, she looked at me with sad, but hopeful eyes. She asks me to extend my left hand to her, and she takes my ring finger gently, my wedding band already there, and she slips a beautiful, thin, feminine ring onto my finger and lets it rest next to his ring. She looks at me and tells me that this is Dawn’s ring, to symbolize that she accepts the real me, and that she wants to be married to her as much as she wanted to be married to him.

I have no idea what she went through in order to make that decision, to go out and buy that ring, to get it sized for my finger, and I’ll most likely never know. What I do know is that it wasn’t easy for her, even though she loved me, she was losing me, the man that she fell in love with, but she was trying, oh, so hard, she was trying, right up until the last day. I’ll always love her for trying so hard, she will always have a part of my heart and my soul

After we separated, I continued to wear my wedding rings, the small feminine one next to the fat masculine one. It was only when things went bad between us, a month after separation, that I removed his ring. I still have it of course, and I’ll always have it, tucked away in a jewelery box.

This was the first time I removed Dawn’s wedding ring.

Although I’m not religious in any way, I’ve learned that in certain religions, if a spouse dies, the surviving spouse will transfer their wedding ring from one hand to the other, on the same finger. I’ve always found this to be a very beautiful tradition, a powerful symbol.

I placed my ring on the ring finger of my right hand, where it has remained for the past 19 months.

I look at it often, and think about my past life, feeling guilt over what Becca had to go through being with me, and how it all ended. It still brings me a sense of love, a reminder of love, thinking of her, and her struggles to continue our life together. I touch it and remember, and sometimes I smile, and other times, like right now, I do my best to hold back the tears.

I know that one day I’ll take this ring off and place it aside, in the box, next to his. I don’t know what I need to do, or what I need to go through, or what I need to let go of, to make that happen. I don’t even know if I want whatever needs to happen to actually happen, I don’t think I’m ready yet, still so much more work to do. It won’t be because, if I’m very very lucky, someone else gives me a ring, if that were to happen, I may continue wearing both rings for a while, I simply don’t know. What I do know, is that all things considered, that time is not too far in the future anymore, it’s coming closer, I feel a shift coming, and that’s terrifying but it’s also going to be wonderful.

A part of me wants to hold on, the rest, knows, that it will soon be time to let go

 


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