Ritual Grieving

Don’t know about you, but I hear and read a lot about creating rituals to recognize important days. I’ve never embraced this idea because my concept of a ritual felt forced and artificial.
As I’ve said, today would have been my 27th wedding anniversary. Despite having a big red flag on my calendar, supported by email and text reminders, it still kind of snuck up on me. Guess I was wishing it away.
As I opened my jewelry box this morning, there they were–my wedding rings, sitting stoically beside Adam’s wedding band and his high school class ring. I don’t wear them for many reasons which are irrelevant today. Suffice it to say that my gaze fell on them and I knew that wearing them once again, if just for today, would be my ritual.
I put them on and felt a return to myself. Emotional support, recognition of the fact that I was married to a wonderful man who gave me these lovely rings, thoughts of him as I glanced at them during the day.
Wearing those rings will be my ritual. I don’t have to bury stones or burn scraps of paper bearing words of despair and regret. I don’t have to hike the paths Adam once loved or make his favorite meal. Wearing the rings Adam gave me is the way I will feel comfortable remembering him.
I’ve decided to wear them the entire month of July, a month chock full of good and bad times, times of growth and times of loss, joy and devastation.
I wanted to share this decision with you in case you, too, are struggling to find a meaningful way to mark particular anniversaries. What I discovered today is that a ritual doesn’t have to be lengthy, public, time-consuming, something that makes you feel awkward or that you simply don’t want to do. For me, simply wearing my husband’s rings again reminds me of his presence, his life, his love, and the many other gifts he gave to me, large and small, material and spiritual, during our all-too-brief time together.
Happy 27th, my love.

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