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I recently dreamt that I lost Chip’s wedding ring. Since the heart attack, I have been wearing it on a chain around my neck. The sound of the wedding band clicking against the chain delivered a sense of calming and comfort. However, I could not bear the thought of losing it, so I decided one Sunday morning to have the ring sized to fit me.

I arrived at Glennpeter Jewelers the moment they opened their doors that Sunday. I explained my situation to Paula and that I wanted to wear Chip’s wedding band; could they size it for me? Innocently they asked if I could leave the ring. I broke down in tears at the thought of parting with the ring.

Paula spoke to the jeweler, the same gentlemen who reset my engagement ring for our 25th anniversary. He remembered Chip and me and said he would size the band while I waited. And together, we stayed. Paula kept me company sitting around the fireplace and chatted about Chip and what happened. Her kindness was extraordinary. I soon began to relax.

Engraved 9-16-89 Karen to Chip

Soon into the process, Paula came to me and explained that the engraving would be lost in the sizing process, but they could engrave it again with the original text, 9-16-89 Karen to Chip. At first, I said okay, but then I stopped her and said no. The engraving was done once and had significance like the wedding band itself. It cannot be replaced or re-engraved. Chip and I are in a new place now.

Chip’s wedding band has a new home

As the process continued over the next 45 minutes, Paula returned to me with another question asking if I wanted both wedding bands polished. Over the years, I had polished my wedding band once or twice; Chip only polished his once. Now I had the opportunity to polish them together for them to shine. I said okay, and I continued my vigil, waiting for his wedding band.

Soon Chip’s ring was presented to me to try on. It was slightly snug at first, and after a slight adjustment, it was on my finger, closet to my heart- right where it belonged and was meant to be. The engagement ring he placed on my finger from down on one knee so long ago was now nestled between his wedding band and mine. It has a new home. The jeweler gave me the piece of his wedding band that they cut out when they sized it. I placed it in the small baggie inside the urn with his ashes. It seemed fitting.

Once I got in the car, I realized what I had done when I said it was okay to polish the band. I looked down at my hand and began to cry. They polished away every scratch and score from all of our days and adventures together. Chip had only polished his band once, and I wonder if that is why he never did.

I held his hand for decades, turning that ring while watching a movie or taking a walk. His hand and wedding band were with me through childbirth, cancer, raising kids, cooking classes, saying goodbye to our dogs, rolling out pizza dough, and cutting down Christmas trees. Every scratch told a story, and I wonder if Chip found peace in it.

I remember on our honeymoon when he drove our old Buick (named Walter) and the sound his wedding band made against the hard plastic wheel when it turned. He told me the first time he heard that sound; he was startled, not knowing what it was. But, he said the moment he saw it was his wedding band was something he would never forget.

Your loved ones are always with you

We all need to remember that our loved ones live and breathe within us.  Whether it is a dog,  (I won’t say cats, sorry, not a fan) or your grandma, they live in the fiber of what makes us who we are.  Chip is with me, not because of a wedding band. It is because he is part of who I am, in my heart and soul.  I see him in Amelia and Jack and that brings me peace. My gentle soul Jack needs time to handle it his way. My strong Amelia, just like her dad, is working through it in her own way. There is no right or wrong way.

I, however,  have lost that person who was half of something magical, and I need to get her back. I cannot remember myself and life without him. So now his wedding band has a new home, and from this day forward, the nicks and scratches that appear will build the band’s unique character and tell a new tale to the next generation. The future may hold college graduation, weddings, and grandchildren, and Chip will not be here to hold my hand, but his wedding band is. Each time I feel its weight and place on my finger, it gives me strength and hope.

I pray it brings me back to life and to the person he loved.

(Still cooking? Nope.)

Special thanks to Paula and the wonderful and kind team at Glennpeter Jewelers 

 

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