Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Ring that Doesn't Fit

I don't know what any of this means.

On the last horrible day of living with my husband, I was e-mailing my siblings about every half hour. What do I do about this? What should I do here? Please keep me moving. That kind of thing. One of the questions I had was, "what is the wedding ring protocol in situations such as these?" Leave them on the table in an essentially unproductive fuck-you gesture? Take them with me but take them off? Keep wearing them as a sign of hope and commitment? They came through, the sibs did -as they always do. I was encouraged to keep the rings; they were a gift to me. Take them off, if that felt better. But the rings belong to me.

So, I took them off and got on the road. The strange thing is that I don't feel the rings when I wear them. But I felt their absence, and it was just another in an apparently endless string of painful experiences. Then I remembered that I have a ring of my very own.

When I graduated from college, my mother gave me a ring that had been hers and her mother's -and possibly her mother's. Stories become apocryphal fairly quickly in our family. However many generations, though, the idea is that the oldest daughter inherits this ring. (When Victoria graduated from college, she started lobbying for the ring, thinking that the "rule" was that it was a graduation present. But that can't be right. Not all those women went to college, much less graduated. So I haven't handed it over yet.) It's an amethyst, in a beautiful old-fashioned setting. As a little girl going through my mother's jewelery box, I always loved this ring.

So, to deal with the "phantom-ring pain", I started to wear this ring. Maybe somehow, I reasoned, I could channel the strength of those formidable women. The thing is... it doesn't fit. This is looking like a very bad omen. On my left-hand ring finger, the ring wobbles around and I'm afraid it will slip off. And the setting is fragile and the stone is a little weak, so this is NOT a ring you can wear while you clean the bathroom -as one can with a diamond. If I put the ring on my right hand, it's way too tight. And believe me when I tell you that I have channeled no formidable strength.

So for a few days I put my wedding rings back on. That felt comfortable, physically, but it hurt my heart to see them. I don't want the symbol of being married, for heaven's sake. I want to BE married. So, the amethyst has come back out of the jewelery box.

Not surprisingly, it still doesn't fit. Maybe I'm just not a strong woman in this lineage.


Barbara said...

Andrea: you are strong. Your rings are off, you're in DeKalb, you're being that grownup and not just pretending.

Some day when you're feeling strong, take the amethyst to a jewelry store and let them tighten the setting, fit it with a thing to make it fit your finger.

I'm so sorry it hurts so bad.

jill said...

Oh, Andrea - you are incredibly strong. The ring is old and fragile. You are neither. You are a strong, gifted woman who is hurting horribly.

While the ring on your hand may not fit, the ring of friends around you is strong and tight.

Suze said...

I bet it's a beautiful ring. When you're feeling up to it, maybe you could get it re-sized?

The interesting thing is: how do you know how well it fit all these other women? Maybe they wore it loose or tight or tied string around it to make it fit.

I'm not sure what that all means but I do know that you are strong and you do belong with that lineage.

Take care of yourself.

Mollie F. said...

I have a ring like that--mine is a moonstone set in gold. It was my maternal grandmother's engagement ring (her fiance was killed in WWI). My hopelessly pragmatic (and unprofound) advice: Get the setting tightened and get the ring resized. If they can't resize it, get a ring guard for it. Wear rubber gloves when you clean the bathroom. And tell your daughter that it's hers when you're done with it--that's my message to my oldest niece, who's next in line for the moonstone.

It's good to see you posting again.

Lisa :-] said...

I echo all the other ladies: get the ring resized. Of course it isn't "magic." It is a symbol of strong, capable women. Of which you are, obviously, one.

I can't imagine your pain. But it is good to see you working through it.