Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wedding Bands and Borrowed Courage

I finally got it back…my husband’s wedding ring that was incorporated into an opera length necklace. It was made by a woman who does bead work for craft shows and small boutiques. She did a good job but how could I not like it considering I picked out all the beads that she used.

Did you know that in colonial America the Puritans thought adorning your body with a wedding ring was immoral, wasteful? Instead of giving a ring during a wedding ceremony a man would pledge his devotion by giving his bride a thimble engraved with her initials. It was practical and useful in a time when all women had to sew if she didn’t want her family to go to church naked. And they went to church a lot in those days. When I was young and first getting interested in antiques it was a fad to collect initialed thimbles and if you were lucky enough to find one that had the end of the thimble removed you knew it was used as a make-shift ring by a Puritan woman who wasn’t all that keen on following rules and living a moral life. She could switch that thimble back and forth between the tip of her middle finger and up her ring finger when she wanted to add a little sin into her schedule. And don’t we all want that from time to time? When I wear my beaded necklace with Don’s wedding band incorporated I can slip that ring on my finger and I will feel like a double agent with a secret. I can pretend my ring fidgeting is a signal to other fans of Puritan style sinning. Party on, ladies, I’ve got a ring on my finger!

The second photo (below) is of my lion charm necklace which symbolizes my need to have courage throughout 2013. (See my New Year’s Eve post if you want more information on the idea of having a One Word Inspiration to take the place of resolutions.) It’s just a cheap craft store charm and chain but I only wear it when I’m going someplace alone where I need to be reminded to have courage in doing so. I was half of a couple for 42 years and the transition to being single in a couple’s world still feels like I’m walking naked in a dream---and that’s not a pretty visual when you’re my age. I haven’t gone to a restaurant alone yet, for example, still haven’t done many things I’d like to start doing again. So I’m taking my courageous lion with me in the spring to a breakfast-only café and the farmer’s market in a near-by tourist town. I want my summer time Saturday morning routine back! I couldn’t bring myself to go that market last year because I wasn’t ready to face the vendors' questions about why Don wasn’t with me. But life goes on and so shall I with a little borrowed courage from a lion charm or a beaded necklace. ©

“He felt lighter than he had in weeks, and he realized that the monster he had been running from wasn’t really a monster after all. It was simply that place in the heart that holds the measure of your history, the joy and the grief, the laughter and the tears, the magic and the wonder; all the ingredients that add up to the story of a life well lived.”

Lilli Jolgren Day, author of The Wonder of Ordinary Magic


  1. Your necklace is so beautiful and unique! I love its dangling beads. I wonder what kind of reactions you'll get when you wear it.

    I asked a jeweler from a crafts fair to make a necklace that incorporated my late husband's wedding ring, too. When I needed him close to my heart, there he was. Next best thing to him really being there : -(

  2. Thank you. I was pleased with how it turned out. It's got a lot of crystal beads in it that don't show above and the combination goes well with the colors I like to wear the most. If anyone notices the ring I'll tell them what it is but if they don't I keep it my "open secret." How did people react to yours? Did you blog about it?

  3. People didn't notice the necklace's wedding ring, only marveling at its unusual design. I pointed its wedding band out once, putting its admirer and me in an awkward position explaining something I didn't care to explain. So, it is an 'open secret', like you say, and I haven't blogged about it.

    Since I wanted to date again, after four years, I added my own wedding ring to it, and my ring fits perfectly inside the larger enclosure of his ring. My necklace hangs where I see it daily, and rarely around my neck. But when I wear it, I wear it proudly, for it commemorates our accomplishment, making it to the 'end', with grace and love.

    I hope your necklace brings you peace and joy, too.

  4. What a great idea for your own wedding ring! And also the idea of hanging the necklace where you can see it every day---hiding in plain sight. The necklace with the rings honors the bond without holding you back from dating.

  5. Jean, it's a beautiful necklace, seeing it warms my heart. I love your lion charm, and its powerful symbolism, too.

  6. Thank you! I was pleased with how they both turned out and I'm glad there are people out there in the world who understand why we widows like to have these things.

  7. You are so brave! And the idea of putting wedding bands for women onto necklaces after your partner's gone is a great idea. It makes you feel like they're there with you all the time.

  8. Thank you Allen! We call need to borrow a little courage from time to time. Whatever gets you moving again is great in my book.