The Reason I Took off my Wedding Ring

Someone recently got up the courage to ask me why I haven’t been wearing my wedding ring. After all, a wedding ring is a big deal to a lot of people. It symbolizes marriage and deep devotion. It says, “Hands off you’re mine.”And to take off that wedding ring might mean something is going on.

To be honest, I’m sure this person had noticed months ago but was only just working up the courage to ask. It may even have been the topic of conversation on several occasions with speculations made as to what was going on with the Bests. (Okay, I live in a tiny community; I know how these things work.)

People notice things, small things. They talk. They whisper. They wonder. They become concerned for their neighbours.

For the record, I’m not a noticer of these small things. I would be the last person to notice what someone had, or didn’t have, on their finger. Most times, I couldn’t describe someone’s jewelry to you or even what they were wearing. So if you’re ever in a line-up and I’m there to point you out for a crime, you can breathe easy. Just saying.

But you’re a writer, you might argue. Writers should notice details.

To this I would say: I do notice details, just not your details.

Let me explain.

I’ve always found long descriptions in books a little tedious and even struggle to picture these things in my mind if they are totally unfamiliar to me. But I can describe in detail what a character is feeling when they lose their best friend or when someone close to them dies or betrays them.; breaks their heart, or makes them laugh. You get the picture. Those are the details I notice—emotional details. As a reader, these are the things that will get to me in the end.

So, to end all the speculation as to why I took of my wedding ring off, I’ll post this picture. It’s a dandy as you can see, with plenty of detail.

Last fall, I got into a little trouble when my knuckle decided to swell. A real pickle as a friend of mine would put it! I had been working outside in the cold and wet for days, and by the time I noticed that my finger was swelling, (Didn’t I tell you I don’t notice things?) well, there was no way that ring was coming off. (Strangely, the previous winter, my ring was so loose I was afraid it was going to fall off.)

So with little or no room to spare, my finger started to get claustrophobic—yes, you read that right—and even I had to stop thinking about the fact that the little gold band I’d been wearing for nearly 40 yrs was becoming increasingly tighter. Each morning I checked to make sure I could turn it and that the blood was still circulating. And, each morning, I’d take a bit of comfort in the fact my finger wasn’t purple or gangrenous and was probably going to live another day.

But regardless, that ring wasn’t coming off.

Now, the thing about a ring that won’t come off is this: when you tell others about your woes, they know they’re the one who’s going to get that frigging thing off regardless of the fact that the ring is a size 4 ½ and your knuckle, at this point, is about a 6+.

I showed my oldest sister, the nurse. She was going to take charge. Older sisters do that, you know. She rolled up her sleeves and declared that if I could stand the pain she could get the dang thing off. Okay, so right there, I’m not liking the sound of that. I mean, who likes pain? You? Cause I sure don’t. She marched my finger (and me) over to the sink and proceeded to dump dish washing liquid over it making a slippery path. That sucker was coming off. She was sure. And while my size 4 ½ ring slipped around and around my finger, it came to an abrupt halt when it crossed paths with my size 6+ knuckle.
I was never very good at math (writing was more my thing) but even I knew that a size 4 ½ ring won’t go over a size 6 knuckle, no way, no how. Still, she pressed on—literally.. She was going to do it no matter what. I wasn’t actually screaming at that point so I guess I was still “standing the pain.” More dish detergent and running cold water—that would do the trick! Now, I’ll give credit where credit is due. She did get it about half-ways over my knuckle but as I said 4 1/2 won’t go over 6. Needless to say, the ring didn’t come off.

Meanwhile Hubby took a less painful approach. He went to the drugstore and brought home some supplies, specials creams that would take away the swelling from arthritis. We greased the finger and, saying a silent prayer, I went to bed expecting that by some miracle the promises written on the bottle was going kick in and miraculously take away all the swelling. That ring would be off come morning.

Or not.

Next up, I mentioned my dilemma to my son. He was going to take charge. (Son’s do that, God bless their hearts.) Being, well a young person, he took a more contemporary approach. He watched some Youtube Videos that described an easy foolproof method of painlessly removing a ring. He rolled up his sleeves. Like my sister before him, he was going to get that sucker off.

Following the Youtube video instructions he cut off a length of dental floss. All you do is slip a piece under the ring and start winding the floss around it and voila the ring pops off. Sounds great in theory and worked quite slick on the video but you can forget the fact that (listen to me people) a 4 ½ size ring WILL NOT go over a size 6 knuckle.

I did say painlessly, didn’t I? I was screaming even before the ring reached my knuckle. Childbirth had nothing on this! To tell the truth, I was screaming the second he started wrapping that thin piece of floss around my finger.( Boy doesn’t know his own strength.) But he didn’t stop. He was going to get it off.

My finger was bright purple by that time and Hubby had to turn away because he gets a little squeamish in these situations. To tell the truth, even I couldn’t look.

Hubby stepped in then and told my son to stop. At least I think he did. I couldn’t hear much over the screaming at that point. Shortly before the floss sliced off my finger, he was forced to give up. That sucker definitely wasn’t coming off because regardless of how hard you try– a size 4 ½ ring won’t go over a size 6 knuckle.

My daughter, who worked as a ward clerk for years at the hospital suggested my sister again. “The nurses have a way to get rings of fingers,” she said. Of course, what she failed to tell me at the time was, the reason they have such success taking off rings is because the fingers belong to corpses. Believe me, I had a ways to go before I reached that point.

The day of my book signing last November, I went into the jewelry store to see if it could be cut off. (FYI the ring , not my finger) It could. But of course I didn’t want it cut off. The jeweler was nice and told me that if the skin under the ring turned white my finger was in trouble and I would have to get it removed right away. My finger wasn’t white and I could still move the ring which seemed like good signs. I decided to wait. Cutting it off would be a last resort. Perhaps this ring just wasn’t meant to come off.

And then a miracle happened!

Maybe not a miracle, but you’ve got to admit that sounded kind of cool. Didn’t it?

So the day of said miracle, I came home from work and noticed that there was a bit more room under my ring than there was previously. Dare I? I thought as I gently turned it around while inching slowly toward my knuckle.

“I think it might just come off,” I said to Hubby as I went for the dish washing detergent. And low and behold that sucker finally came off! Somehow my size 6 knuckle had shrunk down to a size 4 ½ . I was in bliss.

And the moral of the story is—other than a size 4 ½ ring won’t go over a size 6 knuckle—be patient. Don’t force things. Sometimes your body has other plans. and if your ring-finger starts swelling, for the love of God NOTICE IT!

And so here I am, coming up to my 40th Anniversary tomorrow, bare finger on my left hand for all the world to see but I’m not concerned. While a ring is a symbol of marriage, it isn’t the marriage. If the ring is gone, the marriage doesn’t disappear.

I haven’t tried to put the ring back on. My knuckle still seems to be a bit swollen. To tell the truth I may have to get it enlarged. (The ring, not my knuckle.)


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