ring

Our Story Begins
The Reminder

 

On my right hand, largely ignored by all but the most keenly observant, is a ring. I wear it on my ring finger of the right hand and I am, largely, never without it.

I don’t talk about it much, if ever. It’s a ring, it’s there, and it’s not actually that old. You might think it is. It is silver, circular, Roman numerals pressed into the metal. Those few who notice think it’s my wedding ring, repurposed and put on the other hand. Just for the record: it’s not. The strange thing is . . . I have my wedding ring in a drawer in the house. It’s actually the third one I owned. The first I had to buy myself and in the intolerance and anger of my youth I was a bit hurt that I had to buy an engagement ring and a wedding ring for my future spouse…and then turn around and pay for my own ring as well. I held that terrible grudge about that for a long time and it was ridiculous.

I didn’t say, by the way, that I was either a nice person or a logical one. I was young. It’s not an excuse, there are a number of things I wish I could have done better and that’s one of them.

My first ring got bent, bowed, and scratched constantly. The soft gold just couldn’t handle the daily life of a news photographer.

The second…my wife bought that for me. I loved that ring. It got lost in a move and I wish I had taken better care of it. The third was silver, durable, and it came off my hand in the last five years of marriage because it didn’t fit. I had gained too much weight.

The ring on my right hand I had made. There are two sets of Roman numerals, both the same numbers: III XXVI.  3/26. That’s a dual date for me. March 26th.

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On March 26th, 1993, I married Andrea Andrews. It was beautiful, I can tell you, but I remember very little beside that. It was a whirlwind that I wish I had enjoyed more.

On March 26th, 2011, 18 years to the day, Andrea Andrews Manoucheri passed away. Unfortunately, I remember every detail of that day. I would gladly switch one set of memories for the other.

It’s tarnished now – which the silver smith told me to allow because it adds to the ring – and beat up. I have not lost it, nor have I intentionally chosen not to wear it. If I forget, I’ll turn around just to get it and put it on my finger. It’s a reminder.

It’s not a reminder of my wife. That’s the mistake you might make. It’s a reminder to myself. The person that got that first wedding ring isn’t the same person that has this new one. I certainly have the bits and pieces of him…but I’m not the same as I was. The ring reminds me of that.

It reminds me that life and people are lovelier than you think…so the anger and bitterness those can go. They just lead to regret. It reminds me that the things I thought were hard or worth being angry about or what have you just weren’t. It reminds me that yes, I learned a lot from the woman I married, but I can carry that into all my other relationships. It’s not to scare me from loving again it’s to remind me what it means to be in love . . . that someone else can both give back and receive. It’s to remind me that things can be fleeting but fleeting moments can have a big impact.

I wear this ring every day and when I look at it, this isn’t something that makes me sad or grieve. It reminds me to be who I am . . . to be a better person. It reminds me that those little, cute, silly things are not meddlesome or intentional. They are, in fact, little, cute and silly.

The ring reminds me that there is a lot more to life than the moments shared over a period that lasted 18 years. Not a lot of people like to hear that, but sometimes…you just need a reminder.

What about you? Do you have reminders you carry with you?