20-40-60 Etiquette: Widow asks about wearing her wedding ring
QUESTION: I have been a widow for six months and I am still wearing my wedding ring. Is there a proper time to take it off?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: I’m sorry for your loss. I think you can take off your wedding ring when you’re ready. I don’t think there is a proper time. You can keep it on forever if that’s what you want.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: I don’t think there’s a “proper” length or limit for wearing your wedding ring. The ways anyone handles grief and honoring loved ones are very personal to the individual. If you find comfort in wearing the ring, then wear it. If you find you want to put it away and enjoy the memories of your marriage in other ways, that is fine, too. Only you can decide the right way to wear your wedding ring, even if you want to wear it one day and not the next. I am sorry for your loss.
HELEN’S ANSWER: Widows handle this issue in different ways. Some wear their wedding ring forever; some women take the ring off forever, or transfer it to the right hand, and some have new jewelry made from the stones or wear the band on a chain around their necks. It is a personal matter. I have even heard of widows giving the ring to children or grandchildren.
Whatever you decide to do, it is not wrong. Wedding rings are symbolic of a life well loved, and I think it still means something to treasure it, and to enjoy the memories it represents.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Patti Leeman, community volunteer: The fact that this question continues to be asked so frequently in conversation circles indicates that it continues to be important to widows. There does not seem to be a one-time-fits-all on record.
Some widows are pained by the reminder of the loss of their husbands and take their ring off. Other widows enjoy the reminder of life with their departed loved one and wear their ring forever. If, and, when the time is right, just do it. My condolences for your loss.
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is 40-plus, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com.