A bit over a decade or so ago I went through the rigours of divorce. If you’re a single mum via divorce I don’t need to tell you what that’s like.
One person described their divorce experience to me as like going through open heart surgery without the aesthetic. Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up for most of us who’ve been there and done that.
As a relationship counsellor, I often am privileged to come along-side other people wanting to heal and recover from the rigours of divorce. A part of that journey for them, and it was for me too, was to figure out what to do with my old engagement and wedding rings.
For me, I really liked my rings. They weren’t big, ornate or terribly expensive, but they had been on my hand for almost 15 years and I felt rather attached to them. Not having them there, was important on one hand as I navigated my journey as a newly single woman/mother, but it also felt a bit bare and naked.
I sat on this question of what to do about my old rings for quite a while and then I came up with an option that brought me fresh energy and hope. Something that I was really ready to receive and open up to. I decided to get my old rings remoulded into one new ring and that contained symbolic significance to my past, present and future.
I kept the diamonds out of my old rings and then added in the middle of the setting my birth stone, which happens to be a garnet as I’m born in January. I then added some filigree design to it as well as I have Scottish and Irish heritage. I had previously had a clawed setting as that was all the rage at the time I got married. However, I found with lots of nappy changing and handwashing over the years my clawed setting would often get caught on things. So I decided to go with a design that was a smooth and polished and felt more comfortable.
Once I got my ring back from the jewellers I wondered what finger to wear my new ring on?
I decided to go with the ‘tall’ finger on my right hand. This could be interpreted as an ‘up yours’ kind of concept. For me, by the time I had my new ring made I was well past all of those angry, resentful emotions and instead the tall finger on my right hand was symbolic of my strength and new identity as I am right handed.
This re-made old ring became a symbol of my new life. It was a reminder of where I had come from. It was my past heritage, identity as a wife and mother, struggles and challenges, but also how I found a way to stay true to myself, thrive and step into a new identity as a single again woman and mother with greater self-knowledge and wisdom.
A friend said to me at the time, that an outward ritual helped her consolidate internal change. This deeply resonated with me. So in that 1-2 years post-divorce I engaged in a number of symbolic rituals that allowed me to actively grieve the ending of my first marriage and step into my new identity as a single woman and mother, and then as a remarried woman.
I still wear this ring on my tall finger of my right hand. Because, while I’m petite at 5’3, I’m a tall woman on the inside.
I encourage you to think about how you could also allow your old rings to bring you new life.