I took them off, my rings. My left hand is bare and empty. No gold, no silver with diamonds winking up at me or glittering in the sun. My ring finger feels oddly light and maybe a little lonely. There is a faint indentation where the rings nestled for almost 35 years.
I've been taking them off in stages since last October 9th. From that dreadful day in 2011 until the one year mark, I wore my original rings and on the next door finger, I wore his ring too. At the one year date, I replaced my rings with the small 25th anniversary ring he gave me. I put his ring away. And in my heart I was telling myself, "You are not married any more. You are alone. You are a widow."
The other day, a friend noticed that I was still wearing my wedding rings. It made me immensely sad and tearful but it was also a sign to me that it is time to take them off. Taking them off means I am not married to Mark because he is not here and is not coming back. It means I'm single, I am not married and I accept that.