When Michael died, I asked the hospice nurse for his ring. I wanted it immediately. I wanted to put it on my hand while it was still warm. To place it on my hand and to feel the last vestiges of his life in the platinum. My inscription to him still resting on his finger when he died. I wanted it transferred to me, and my hand, while the life was still there…while he was still warm and not quite fully gone.

I placed it on my hand and put my wedding band and then my engagement ring on after it (the photo above is my rendition of our 3 rings).

And there it has stayed. I haven’t thought about taking it off. Okay, I have but I can’t bear to.

For me it’s not only the connection to Michael but to what we were. True love. Real love. Endless as the circle. Going on forever. I twirl the rings several times a day. I look at them. I am proud of what we had. I am glad for the union we shared.

As we come up on a year I’ve contemplated taking them off but they symbolize so much to me. The way I was loved, when I was loved, by a wonderful, wonderful person. Some think that, as a year approaches, I should think of putting them away.

The balance in bereavement is always healthy grieving versus unhealthy enshrinement. And I’ve been aware of that as I’ve taken some of Michael’s things away and sold others and can’t bear to part with some odd things. I’ve been walking that fine line and sometimes I just don’t know.

The three rings for me are a comfort and sometimes a symbol of the love we shared and how a special being in this world actually loved me and showed me that love every single day.

It’s also the love I have for him. The love that cared for him every day in his last year of life. Who stood by him and advocated and stomped around holding everyone and everything accountable. While still tenderly kissing him and holding him and assuring him. It all means that much to me.

I don’t know. I thought that at a year I would know, but we’re almost there and I don’t know. And so they remain.

by John Donne

AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, ’cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.