July 24, 2011

On letting go . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:22 pm by letterstoelias

(as usual, I started writing this ‘ages’ ago . . . around July 13th.  Rather than changing how it’s written, please note that when it says ‘today’ or ‘yesterday’, this is referring to almost two weeks ago – I’ve added the photos and posted it ‘as is’)

I took a deep, deep breath.  Exhaled with a quiver as I turned the handle, walked back through the door and hurriedly to the desk, and while unsuccessfully choking back tears muttered out the words, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later” as I handed the tiny plastic bag back to her before quickly turning around to rush out.  A tiny plastic bag holding more love than you could fit into one lifetime.

She kindly replied, also choking up, something to say that they would be back, just a little ‘different’.

And, it was done.

* * * * *

I guess I should back up a few months – well, actually more like 26 1/2 months . . .

The issue of wedding rings is always a big topic among the widowed.  It’s not that we are looking for anyone to tell us what to do with ours, but it helps to hear stories of what other people have done and there is comfort in knowing that others have struggled with the same issues.

I love that, among all my widowed friends, there have been an incredible variety between how long, and how the rings have been worn as well as what has been done with them after they are taken off – ‘if’ they are taken off.  Better still, is that I’ve always found so much respect, appreciation and support of each others decisions.

I would have happily died with my rings as they were, right where Elias put them when we committed ourselves to each other years ago – and there’s nothing to say I could do just that – but it got to a point where I felt like I was living a lie.  But worse, it was almost more difficult to look at them there, knowing what wasn’t (not like I don’t have a thousand other things each day to face with the same message, but this one was the most prominent).  I also, mistakenly, figured that perhaps if I didn’t have a wedding ring on, I would avoid some of the assumptions about having a husband (well, an alive one that is).  Of course this makes no difference as even just yesterday the grocery store clerk was joking with me about leaving the girls at home with ‘Dad’ next time I shop.  I decided against telling her he would do a fairly lousy job of looking after them from the cardboard box on my dresser, and instead just answered ‘That would be nice’.

I didn’t feel that leaving them in a box or on the dresser (beside Elias?) was the right choice for me.  I’m not one much for dusting and hated the thought of the dust piling up on them.  I wore Elias’ on my necklace, and eventually mine joined his there, but after a few mysterious chain malfunctions (they just popped off with no apparent break in the clasp or chain), I became worried about losing them entirely.  I wanted to wear all three forever, but in a way that was less heart-wrenching.

From very early on after Elias died, I had an idea of what I eventually wanted to do with mine, but as much as I loved the idea, it was terriying.  I’ve you’ve read this blog for any length of time, it’s come up on more than one occasion.  I’ve considered any number of options, but never really wavered from my original plan – to blend our rings together in order to have one ring made for myself, and one for each of the girls.  Blending not just gold, but the symbol of everlasting love that we shared in life, and has not ended even though we are physically parted.  Something the girls can wear (when they are older) to remember the love he had for the three of us, and also hopefully to encourage them to work to ensure they find someone who will love them as deeply as their Daddy loved me.

Our rings.  Our love, blended into something new that will forever show 13+ yrs of friendship, laughter, 2 children, tears, joy, illness, fights, passion, heart and soul and so much more . . . but most of all, LOVE, throughout eternity – just as we stated when we exchanged them.

* * * * *

It was finally in March when I worked up the courage to meet with a local jeweller to discuss the ‘possibility’.  I instantly fell in love with the jeweller, who showed and incredible amount of compassion and care of the situation, and helped to put a little more ease in my heart and mind – no easy task, I assure you.

A few email exchanges and design ideas later, we had it.  All three rings would have the design I needed – the right blend of beauty and symbolism.

Seeing as time had become too short to get it done before the 2yr mark, and after that there wouldn’t be enough time to get it done before our wedding anniversary (neither of which I wanted to be without the rings for),  I had some time to sit with it and be sure that this was what I wanted.  Seeing as turning back never crossed my mind, fast forward to the start of June, and another appointment with the jeweller to start the ball rolling.

This was the appointment where I had to leave my rings behind.  They needed to be weighed and measured – though I was promised that nothing would happen to them until I had approved the first rendition they would do in wax, so there was still time to turn back.  Just before heading out the door, I crabbed my camera and took a few photos (though I was disappointed in myself for not thinking to clean them up a little first).

It was difficult that first time, letting go of them, but she also let me know I could come back and ‘visit’ them any time I needed to.  I mentioned the photos, but they offered to clean them for me and also take photos.  I went back the next day and took a few more photos with them all cleaned up, but didn’t get as much of an opportunity for a ‘good-bye’ with them as the cheery housepainter was trying to make conversation.

Last week, the wax rendition was done.  I went right away to see it, and though it was ‘almost’ perfect, there were just a few tweaks that needed to be made.  I will admit, it made me a ‘little’ nervous that maybe it would never be exactly right, but kind as she is, the jeweller agreed to send it back to the wax carver and make the changes at no charge.

An email yesterday to let me know rendition #2 was ready, and again I rushed over – and had a good feeling about it.  This time, it WAS perfect!  I had, however, unfortunately forgot my camera and only had my phone to take a few photos with, but wanting to document the process, I took a few.

The other big part of this visit – of course now that the ‘wax’ ring has been approved, it was time to ‘let go’ of my rings, as they were, for good.

As usual, I was doing ‘fine’ while in sitting at her desk.  But, as the girls were with me I didn’t want to leave and not get a good chance to have a little time to myself with them before handing them over for the final time.  Before I had even finished asking, she of course obliged, and I grabbed the rings to take outside with me.  I put the girls into the car with hopes of fewer distractions.  E commented on how she knew it was hard for me because the rings were very special.  I teared up and told her that they were more than special, they were my heart.  And it was hard, but it was ok because now I would have something that I could always wear to show how much I love Daddy, and he loves me, and eventually they would too (I was fortunate to be able to cover the cost of my ring in trade as the jeweller is also a new grandma, but we are waiting a bit for the girls rings to spread the cost out a bit, and because they won’t get them until they are much older anyhow).

My loving, compassionate girls nodded their heads in understanding, and gave me my few minutes of peace as I took a few more final photos, spoke a little to the rings and to Elias, and gave them a final kiss before heading back inside.

(this was where the original post ended…)

* * * * *

Letting go of my rings, our rings, was by no means easy – but it’s not what we own that holds true value.

There seems no end of things in life we are sometimes forced to ‘let go’ of.  Losing Elias, among many things, meant letting go of countless dreams, plans, ideas, hopes, etc, etc, etc –  but I have found a few new ones along the way, as well as some amazing people who continue to demonstrate the power in letting go.  Accepting change.

Of course the rings, as they were, were symbolic.  They stood for the love we committed to each other, for life.  He held up his end of the bargain – loving me to the end of his life, just as I loved him to the end of his.  But I’m still here, so where did this leave me?  And my rings?

Our love didn’t change.  Our love will NEVER change.  I will love Elias to the end of my life as well.  But, our ‘situation’ changed.  Our ‘status’ changed.  To me, it seemed fitting that so would our rings.

I get to keep living (and he would kill me if I didn’t!).  I get to keep loving him, though no longer just as his wife.  I wanted something to show what we had together, and what we will have forever, regardless of our physical separation.  Something I can wear forever, to represent my undying love for an amazing man.

I may have ‘let go’ of our wedding rings, as they were – though I know I will gain something I needed in return.

It’s not ‘good bye’, it’s ‘see you later

As they were

As they were

A perfect fit

I will miss them, but not as much as I miss him . . .

A work in progress (photo with my phone)

Testing it out (with a fake diamond)

The finished ring will find it’s place on my finger (right hand ring finger) very soon.  I can’t wait.

* * * * *

My love,

The more I think about the ‘new ring’, the more excited I get.  I know you would trust my judgement – though I hope you aren’t mad I melted them down!

I have no idea where life will take me – sometimes I’m amazed to have made it this far without you – and I will never be ok with losing you, but I know ‘I’ will be ok, just as I promised you I would be.  I am finding my way to let go of some of those dreams, goals, hopes.  Again, I don’t ‘like’ it by any means, but it makes room for new ones.  Change.

There is no letting go of our love, and I am thrilled to be able to finally wear a symbol of that for the rest of my life, that still makes room for what else may come.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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3 Comments »

  1. greggieswifey said,

    Wipes tears away …

    I ❤ this Chelsea.

    I'm glad you are doing this for you and that you're listening to your heart. IMO I don't think Elias would be mad at you for melting them. I think your idea is beautiful (one for you and one for both if the girls). The mold looks lovely, a beautiful design. Can't wait to see it in person in a few weeks. 🙂 I know this was hard. Sending you a BIG hug and lots of love.

    B

  2. Sarah said,

    love you!

    Sarah

  3. Boo said,

    Oh Chels I can’t wait to give you the hugest hug. I love what you’ve designed. Such a tenderly written post which sounded as though you were reassuring yourself … V hard to let go, indeed. As you say the new ring made of 3 originals (and I remember you sharing how Elias proposed – when I last saw you <3) is different yet the love is still there … and the way you love now is changed … but your love for each other cannot be changed by anything or anyone. Eternity x


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