Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Ring

Ever since the early days of our honeymoon, whenever he entered water, M would clutch his wedding ring. Ball his left hand up in a fist. Contort his fingers in a way that made swimming difficult, snorkeling nearly impossible. He was terrified of losing his ring in the sea, the pool, the ocean, the lake. And I would laugh, and say he was being overly cautious. And that rings don't just slip off fingers into the depths.

 And then last Friday, it did. F me. It did.

 D was under the umbrella, playing in the sand. M was in the water. I was in the surf, attempting to catch baby horseshoe crabs so I could run up and show D since we've been reading this book. It was a perfect, perfect late afternoon at the beach.

 M thought I was ridiculous. So of course I gloated and cheered when I finally got one. He raised his hands to echo my cheer, and then realized his ring was gone.

 Waist-deep. Low tide. I ran out to help but no way any amount of feeling around with toes was going to surface our wedding band. But then D disappeared behind the umbrella and out of my sight line, so given the choice between animate and inanimate object, I chose to go find D, who, for the record, was not nearly as impressed with the horseshoe crab as I wanted him to be.

 M was/is distraught. In his mind, he failed us. Failed me. Losing the ring was tantamount to cheating and how would I ever forgive him. How would he forgive himself? He was inconsolable. To the point where I felt really, really badly about not caring.

 In my mind. It's a ring. Simply a ring. No more. No less. One of many objects that can possibly and most likely be lost. I offered to throw mine into the sea as well. He balked. We'd need mine to find his replacement. Ok. fine. But I just couldn't muster up the kind of sympathy M was needing (I usually can't) and was getting annoyed at his "I knew this would happen"s.

 So I turned to the practical. It's lost. What can be done? I posted on FB and started googling to see if I could find a local metal detector club. I posted on Craigslist. I went up to the police station to file a lost/missing item report in case we needed it for insurance. I removed the FB post bc M said he was embarrassed and ashamed. I deleted the craigslist post after talking with the secretary at the police station, also an avid metal detector user. "Ain't nobody turning anything in; we're all looking for our million dollar ring."

 Well, this is nowhere near a million dollar ring, but M was carrying a weight as if it was. A few days after the loss, he's mellowed a little. Each day seems to make it a little easier for him to stomach. After it happened, I was seriously worried that he'd never want to go to the beach again, but we managed to salvage the weekend. D would see us eying the sand and the surf hoping to catch sight of it and ask us what we were looking for. "More hermit crabs?"

"Horseshoe crabs, D. And no. Daddy lost his ring."

"Oh. I lost my bagel this morning, too."

 Oh D. You sweet, sweet thing. Yes, you did. (it fell in the sand.)


 So tell me, dear readers. What would you do if you lost your wedding band? Are you more of an M or a me here? And how and how soon would you fill that missing and untanned space on your finger?


MrsSpock said...

My husband lost his ring 2 years after we were married, when our oldest was 8 months old, and we all got a horrid GI virus and lost 10 pounds in 3 days. We never replaced it, it's not a big deal to either of us. I don;t need a ring on his finger to know we are married and would never stray.

Danielle said...

Alan lost his ring when J was a baby- in all likelihood, he threw it out in an exhausted cleaning fit. He was devastated- didn't sleep for days. I never gave it a second thought, except to be touched by how much it meant to him. Wonder how I would feel if I lost mine.

m said...

Thank you, MrsSpock and Danielle, for sharing. Just in the retelling of this, I've found so many more (happily married) friends and colleagues who don't wear their rings for various reasons (weightlifting, job hazards, lost...) It's been yet another experience of sharing a loss (of a very, very different kind) opening up connections with those around us.

I've also heard tons of horror stories about ring avulsion (don't google it!!) and amputations due to ring-related accidents. Yikes.

It was definitely touching to realize what it meant to M.

m said...

And look! More missing ring mayhem: (But this story has a happy ending).

Noemi James said...

My husband and I had our rings made, and it would be hard to replace either of them, so I think I would be pretty distraught if one of them were lost. Having said that I've learned over the years that things are just things, and once another ring were procured, I'd probably get over it pretty quickly. There was a time though, when a loss like that would have absolutely devastated me. I'm glad that person has learned enough to understand that things are just things, and not worth the devastation.

m said...

Dear Noemi, I totally get that. I think if our rings were made for us we would both be far more upset. But you're so right - things are just things. And I had to remind M of our mindset when we got them in the first place - this ring just not change the love we've already demonstrated or the life we've already lived together, other than offer the rest of the world a sign of that.

Did I mention that I accidentally threw my mom's (way more $$) ring out several years ago? She was in the ICU and needed to take it off. She gave it to me balled up in a tissue, which, of course, looked like a dirty tissue when I went to clean out my bag later that week....

Melissa in Durham said...

My wife has lost her ring twice now and her engagement ring was stolen when our house was broken into almost 2 years ago. Our original rings were hand engraved with a design she had come up with herself. I hate that she lost her ring and the engagement ring stolen but for me too, a ring is just that, a ring. Even now with the latest cheap replacement she wears it only half the time. I don't worry about her. Our marriage is solid and we work daily to keep it healthy and strong. The ring is an object for me. We did not quickly replace her ring either of the times she lost it. I let her decide when she wanted to replace it and what she wanted to replace it with. She now chooses cheap rings because given our history, she will lose it again. If we had more disposable income I would try to get a new hand engraved ring to match mine again, but money is tight and there are many more important things like saving for another family trip to the beach so we can build memories for us and our kids.

Silver said...

My mother lost her wedding ring when she and my dad had been married for more than 40 years (they're at 50 now - so it didn't break them). I was in a foreign airport and it was stolen - she took it off to wash her hands and left it on a shelf - so it was never coming back. It was particularly special as it had been made to fit round the engagement ring he gave her (thankfully she wasn't wearing that on the trip!). She was very upset but my dad's reaction was perfect - he told her that after 40 years it was probably time to get a new one anyway :-).

Silver said...

"It was in a foreign airport" - not "I" - oops!

Northern Star said...

Awww poor M! I'm not very sentimental about these things, so I would probably get a replacement, but I understand how hard these things can be! Something like this has a lot of significance and M cherishes all that is linked to that ring. Very sweet! And D, what a sweet boy! Love how he was so eager to relate with Daddy's loss... Very sweet boys you have!

Non Sequitur Chica said...

Neither of us have lost our rings yet but two of my law school friends have husbands that have lost their rings. One takes it off and plays with it all the time which would drive me batty; the other one lost it skiing in CO. The latter husband was made to wear a dollar store crazy ring as "punishment" for a few days (as a joke).

Rings are just things. I would be sad if either of us lost our rings and we would definitely replace them, but neither of us would be heartbroken (mostly about the cost of replacing since only my engagement ring is covered by insurance).

loribeth said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! :( I would probably replace them once I'd done a thorough search & the likelihood of them showing up again faded. My dh is the opposite of yours -- he has this habit of taking his ring off & spinning it on a table or counter. I have visions of it falling off & bouncing down the furnace vent or something like that. :p So far (30 years, lol) we've been good.

I lost my own rings once. I was outside pulling weeds in the flower beds along the side of the house & put them into my shorts pocket. I didn't realize there was a HOLE in it. Went to put the rings back on & they were gone. I felt SICK. I had been in the same general area for awhile, so I was literally crawling around on my hands & knees, going through the grass. I finally found them in the dirt near the front step. Kissed them several times before I put them back on.

dana said...

Heh. DH has lost two rings. I'm very 'meh' about it. We've replaced it each time (with a lesser expensive ring, obviously). As for me, shortly after we had bub, I decided I just wanted a simple band. My engagement ring and wedding bands sit in my jewelry box and I wear them on occasion, but for every day life - I now just wear a simple band, and should I lose it, it won't be a big deal (for me, at least).

--d @ probable impossibilities

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