The Morning I Notice My Old Wedding Ring

Because it was there to notice in the cardboard box where I once put it, the box in which I keep all my earrings

(because I’m not a jewelry person, the kind of woman who owns enough jewelry to warrant a proper box), the box I keep meaning to go through and clean out

Because so many of the earrings are missing mates that aren’t going to reappear, no matter how much I once loved them–that funky teardrop turquoise one, my birthstone; or the expensive gold hoop my parents gave me; or that silver heart-shaped one I lost somewhere in the old house, the one I lived in with the man I didn’t marry–and

Because for some reason I notice it this morning, when it’s been there so long that I usually don’t, and

Because I am in a place where, it seems, so many things must be tested, I stop to try it on my finger to find that it no longer fits, and then I wonder

Why I keep it and all the earrings I will never wear again, and

Why I never quite know what to do with things that no longer fit, and

Why I am not the kind of woman who would ever have an asymmetrical number of piercings, or who might wear a mis-matched pair, and

Why I am the kind of woman who hangs onto things she loves past their point of usefulness, and

Why I can’t part with a wedding ring even though the circle has been broken, and

Because I don’t have any of the answers, and

Because perhaps some day my children might want this piece of metal bent into the shape my finger once was, this little glittering rock to tell them that they came from something that mattered enough for their mother to hold onto an emblem of it,

I put it–all of it, the ring and the questions and the becauses–back into the box and go on with my day, knowing it will not be one in which I discard anything

Just because.


I’ve never been able to commit to NaNoWriMo (or any other WriMo that requires doing a prodigious amount of writing every day in the month of November), but this year I did decide to join an online poetry writing group that runs Nov. 1-30, led by Jena Schwartz. This writing (poem?) came from one of the prompts Jena provided to the group this week. I have decided that for me, writing might be not unlike exercise:  I’d like to think I can just go it alone, but I probably can’t. There’s a synergy that comes from reading others’ words and talking about their words that I can’t manufacture on my own, a force that energizes whatever it is that makes me want to find my own. And, like exercise, there is a value in just showing up, putting yourself out there and doing the work, even if it’s not a contest for a prize. That’s what publishing this piece here is for me. I appreciate whatever it is that comes from being part of this group that made me stop and think about why I noticed my old ring and what it means that I still have it–which makes this, in some ways, also like the kind of daily gratitude practice some take on for the month of November. It’s been a well-spent $30.00.


9 thoughts on “The Morning I Notice My Old Wedding Ring

  1. Marian says:

    I’m really glad for you that you decided to join this online poetry group. I love the idea of showing up to write, just as you’d show up to exercise. I’ve never been successful at NaNoWriMo either, but after reading an article about journaling as meditation in late October, I decided to try daily 5am journaling-while-drinking-coffee-before-exercise instead of continuing on with what had become a very bad habit of 5am phone-scrolling-while-drinking-coffee-before-exercise. It’s only been 10 days, but it feels great—just as good as the exercise that follows it.

    On your poetry exercise itself: I feel like we maybe go through seasons; sometimes it’s easy to discard discard discard—metaphorically torching everything in a cleansing-type-way, but then there are other times where everything—every last trinket and bit of paper—seems to hold meaning and the decisions are simply too hard and the boxes must simply be kept for another day when we’re either stronger or more belligerent or just simply sick of stasis.
    I also have to say: I seriously think you’re my double, or I’m yours. I’m not a jewelry person either—I’ve had the same gold hoops in my ears for what must now be at least 15 continuous years. And the only reason I changed them 15 years ago was because one of my previous, identical gold hoops broke and I had to replace them. I, too, have a cardboard box of jewelry that I don’t know what to do with. Not only is there that tiny bit of sentimentality (near-zero for much of it, but not nil) but it also somehow seems wrong to simply send it off to Goodwill. Or to toss it. Last summer I gathered up all our unwanted pieces (i.e., everything except wedding bands and engagement ring), thinking I would do…something…but that box is still in my basement. Custom jewelry stores will take pieces and melt them down, and make something new for you, but then you end up with something NEW! Which is a distinct problem for us non-jewelry people! (Sorry—I know you didn’t post this to talk practicalities…)

    • Rita says:

      I keep telling myself I am not going to start my days scrolling. I am generally happier when I follow through on that. I think starting the day with writing and exercising would be lovely.

      As for that box and what’s in it: I did clean out/get rid of quite a bit when I moved last spring. I gave away a fair amount of costume jewelry. But I kept the three earrings mentioned in the writing because I have an irrational hope that their mates will somehow reappear. The likelihood of that, after moving to a new house, is pretty much nil. But we humans aren’t really rational creatures, are we? And I have lots of those scraps, too. I have found a new place for most of them, but some (more than I’d like) are still in boxes. As you say, I’m simply keeping them for another day. I sorted and tossed so many things. I reached my capacity for one year. I’m guessing that next summer I’ll take another stab at it. Maybe. Or maybe not until the next transition, whatever it will be.

    • Rita says:

      You really wouldn’t find much of value in there :-). Although I am partial to that silly pin with the face of Lucy Maud Montgomery on it.

  2. Shannon says:

    My dad left his wedding ring on the dresser the night he walked out when I was nine. My mom often debated selling it over the years out of anger and hurt and legitimate need of money, but ultimately never did, because she didn’t like the idea of having to give her information out and be put in the database of people who have pawned jewelry. It is probably for that same reason that she never sold her own wedding ring. I found her ring in her barely used jewelry box and his ring bouncing around in a nondescript small, black box inside a large storage box of completely random items. I took both rings, a note I wrote, saved by my mom in her nightstand for decades, that says “ho how I love you mom” with a blue and pink crayon smiling mom face from that age when you know your letters but not always the correct order to write them, and a small, dried flower bud I picked up that had fallen to the ground at the cemetery from the arrangement on my mom’s casket and put them into a small heart shaped music box that I don’t particularly like aesthetically, but belonged to my mom. Keeping both rings and the note in this tiny little box that plays a very clunky, out-of-tune rendition of Memories reminds me that there was this very tiny period of time, though I was too young to really remember it, when the three of us were a thing. I don’t look in the box often, but I like knowing it’s there.

    I also like knowing you are there Rita, even if I can’t always come up with words to comment, I like knowing you are out there. Still living, still writing. Please know, I am still reading. 🙂

    • Rita says:

      Oh, Shannon. This is the first time since I first read your words that I’ve had the space (head and time) to really take them in and write back in some manner that’s deserving of them.

      There is so much in this compressed story. And even though I waited, I am still struggling to find the words to reply the way I would like to. Maybe something we have in common? This sentence, particularly, took my breath: “Keeping both rings and the note in this tiny little box that plays a very clunky, out-of-tune rendition of Memories reminds me that there was this very tiny period of time, though I was too young to really remember it, when the three of us were a thing.” So much longing and loss there.

      I like knowing that you are there, too.

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