I apologize for bringing up such a sensitive subject, but I believe it warrants discussion and once you read the entire post you will understand why I think it is important to talk about.
My husband often talked about his wish to be cremated when something happened to him. He also joked that we should “put him in a pine box and carry it in the back of his pickup truck to the nearby creek.” Another remark concerned his motorcycle. He used to say he wanted us to hire a backhoe to dig a big enough hole to drop him in with his motorcycle.
People often make remarks about how they want to leave this world, so how do you know what they really want? After my husband was diagnosed with cancer, my son bravely broached the subject and asked him if he was serious about cremation. He was and we made sure to fulfill his wishes.
The thing is, you don’t think about the aftermath. When you have a loved one who is buried in a cemetery, you can go there to visit and to leave flowers. It’s a place you can go to feel closer to them. If your loved one is cremated and you have an urn full of ashes, you may not know just what to do to honor them on holidays like Memorial Day, Christmas or birthdays.
When the first Memorial Day approached, my son asked if maybe we could put a wreath or something in our back yard, under his dad’s favorite tree. It dawned on me, that we needed a place to visit and remember him. We created a rock memorial garden that sits right under the window of my office, so that I can look out on it.
I bought a beautiful water fountain to sit in the middle of it and I place a new heart shaped wreath in it every spring. Last year on Father’s Day, my granddaughter came and put a little flower arrangement in the Memorial Garden that said “Grandpa.”
Your memorial spot doesn’t have to be huge, or elaborate. Just be sure to make it quiet and peaceful, with enough room for you to place a chair beside it. Trust me, I have spent many hours lovingly tending that rock memorial garden and talking with my husband. It does help…
I would never go against a person’s wishes as to how they leave this earth, but I did want to point out some of the things you may be feeling if in fact you have had a loved one cremated, or if their wish is for you to do so. I never thought of these things until after words when I had to deal with them. I hope the Memorial Garden idea helps you as much as it did me.
Several months after losing my husband, I was talking to a friend and she suddenly asked, “You’re still wearing your wedding rings?” I was a bit taken back, because quite honestly, I hadn’t given my rings a thought. Is there a rule on how long you are supposed to wear them after you become a widow?
I couldn’t bear the thought of taking them off, I loved my rings, and they had been on my hand for years. Taking them off seemed like one more loss to me, but was I supposed to? I didn’t like all these new “rules” I was being forced into, that came along with that word Widow!
Once you become a Widow, you aren’t actually married anymore, even if you feel like you are, so was it wrong to keep wearing my engagement and wedding ring set? Would people think it was some more of that denial stuff I kept hearing about? I thought about other women I knew that were widows. Some had removed their wedding rings immediately, some continued to wear them for years, some actually wore them until they passed away too.
So, I figured, it is just one more thing I had to decide for myself. There is no solid rule or time frame in which you haveto stop wearing your wedding rings. Perhaps when, and if, you feel like you are ready to go out and possibly date, then it is a good idea to remove the rings. If you are not ready for one, then you aren’t ready for the other, right?
But on the other hand, if you just want to go out with the girls and really aren’t ready to be hit on, leaving your wedding ring on will protect you from most unwanted advances. And if a fellow hits on you while you are wearing a wedding ring, that’s a pretty clear warning sign that you probably wouldn’t want him anyway.
I do have one ring on my hand that I will never remove. You see, while my husband was in the hospital he had to remove his wedding band for a surgical procedure. He placed it on my pointer finger for “safe keeping.” After he was out of surgery and awake, I asked if he wanted it back. He told me to just keep it there, that way he would always know where it was.
Four years later, it has never been off of my finger, even though I did have to remove my wedding ring set because they somehow got bent and were hurting my finger. Truthfully though, I have seriously considered taking them to be repaired and putting them back on.
How about you? What are your thoughts on when and if a wedding ring should be removed? Did you take yours off, or are you still wearing them?
If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on being a widow, I do have a blog that I post to whenever the notion strikes me. Join me at My Widows Web and let’s continue to talk. I think it helps all of us in some small way…
My name is Donna and I am just and Everyday Woman trying to figure out this aging thing, I also get to figure out how to do the Widow's Walk through life. I lost my husband to cancer nearly four years ago, after being with him since I was 15-years old. He was always a big fan of my writing ability and I thought, "What better way to honor him, than to keep on writing and maybe be able to help someone else who is going down this same path.