Wedding rings

Some people were confused by the fact that Stephanie’s engagement ring was what most people consider a ten-year anniversary ring. For us, we mostly just loved how it looked, but we also loved the idea of past, present, and future. She also was not a jewelry girl and knew she wouldn’t want to ever replace or upgrade her ring, so we always said that this was her ten-year anniversary present ten years early. It’s crushing that we didn’t get a chance to even make it that far.

A month ago was the day everything started. In fact, 31 days and 33 minutes ago as I write this was when her seizure started. I both can’t believe it’s been a month already and that it’s only been a month. Every time I think about that last moment, it feels like it’s a moment that is infinite in time and was only a second ago. I literally feel like I could reach back and touch that moment with my hand. It’s that visceral and tangible to me. And I think it always will be.

But it’s been a month. Thirty days ago, I wouldn’t have been able to imagine making it a month enduring such pain, but everyone does. Anyone who’s been where I am knows that you just keep going – you make it, however it needs to happen. When I was in the hospital, I kept saying, “I can’t believe a week ago we were doing that together.” Then it was, “I can’t believe two weeks ago was her birthday and we were celebrating and loving life together.” Now it’s, “A month ago was the last time I talked to her. I’ve never gone more than a day without talking to her, and now it’s been 30.”

I took my ring off today, just to see how I would do. I’m normally not the type of person to ever take off something like that. A lot of me never wants to, but another part of me feels like it’s slightly inaccurate to wear it. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Stephanie never wore her rings around the house as they were uncomfortable, but she proudly displayed them when going out, and I never took mine off. It always made me so happy. I’ll probably put it back on, but only time will tell.

Now I start counting the time since it all happened in months instead of weeks.

22 thoughts on “Rings”

  1. Dear Brad…I am all teary eyed just looking at your rings in this picture. My husband and I will be married 30 years next month. He had take his wedding band off recently because he had a medical test that required no jewelry. It bothered him to have it off for one day (and me as well). My heart is ACHING for you…only 5-l/2 years of marriage and we have 30…doesn’t seem fair at all. But, it sounds to me like you packed a lot of love and joy into a short time. Many people can be married for FIFTY years and not have what you and Stephanie had in just a few years…you were blessed…I just wish that the Lord had seen fit to give you more years with your wife. My love and prayers go out to you and your family OFTEN. God Bless you as you continue to be a blessing to so many people (including me).

  2. Beautiful rings and beautiful testimony. Still praying you through. I can’t believe it’s been a month either! When you wrote that I had to re-read the sentence and check my calendar. It seems like it was just last week. All the days now blend together. I was going through my email inbox and found some emails from Stephanie. It’s so weird to have these messages from her as the last communication we had. I saved them all for now but I wonder if I’ll save them forever or when I’ll let them go.


  3. It has meant a lot to me to be able to wear Gina’s engagement and wedding rings. It really makes me feel connected to Tim and his family. I don’t know if you’ve thought about who you would eventually like to pass Stephanie’s rings down to, but know that whoever you choose will look at them each day and think of Stephanie with love (even if she never got a chance to meet Stephanie)!

    1. Thanks for bringing that up, Rebecca. Actually, I hope that Brady will be able to give the rings when he gets married. If he doesn’t want them, then I’ll hit up Halle’s fiance-to-be, come that time. It will make me glad when someone is wearing them again.

  4. Brad,

    Dan’s dad saved his mom’s ring for me…I can’t begin to tell you how amazingly special it made me feel to have a piece of her, even though she and I had never met. It meant so much to Dan too. Rings are so symbolic, and I totally get the struggle with taking it off. Praying daily, sometimes hourly, as I have had her on my mind almost constantly. I miss my dear friend, and every moment I get sad, my heart breaks for you all over again. He is faithful, though, and has something amazing for you!

    Much love,

    1. Thanks so much, Amy. It’s so helpful to hear how much it means to people who are in the same situation my kids will be in when they get married. I’m glad to know how much it means to have Dan’s mother’s ring. It’s yet another painful thing to think about right now – that my wife isn’t wearing her rings anymore. But, I’ll be glad for someone to wear them some day.

  5. Brad,
    Hopefully one of the children would cherish the honor of wearing his/her mother’s beautiful jewelry. I know that a friend of mine lost his wife a few years ago – he has taken the ring from his left hand and now wears it on his right hand – he can not yet not wear them. He’s not sure when he will be able to remove the ring completely. My heart aches for you and your children. Also – I am currently employed at Crazy 8 – a division of Gymboree – and I often see little ones come in with beautiful bows that I just know were created by Stephanie – and it brings a smile to my lips and a tear to my eye to have that little piece of connection with Stephanie.
    You and your children are always in my thoughts and prayers!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing about seeing bows come in that you know were made by Stephanie. She loved making hairbows more than I can describe, and that is a daily heartbreak for me that she is no longer sharing that gift with people. I loved her business, just as she did, and I hate that it’s “gone.”

  6. Brad, any decision you make will be the correct one for you. Your journey is personal. I long ago quit judging,questioning, criticizing, and second guessing the choices of others. Especially something as personal as this. Those who love you and Stephanie will be there for you, unconditionally. Isn’t that all that matters? Isn’t that what life is about. Wear the ring. Don’t wear the ring. It doesn’t change the love and commitment you and Stephanie shared as a married couple… God bless you and your children.

  7. Dear Brad,
    The rings are beautiful. Whatever you feel within your heart, let it lead you. Within your heart you hold the sacredness of your love, which is precious beyond words and everlasting. Please know that I continue to be with you in prayer, dear.

  8. Wow, what an awesome thought that Brady could give Stephanie’s ring to his bride some day! Like Amy said, I think that will be very special for Brady and his wife (and you!). Just a beautiful thought. Makes me smile.

  9. Brad,

    I have been following your blog for a few weeks now and I have to tell you what your testimony has done in my life. Although we’ve never met, your honesty and openness about your relationship with the Lord and your wife has truly affected me in so many ways. Thank you for writing about your marriage as you have truly inspired me to be the mother and wife that God intended me to be. Stephanie was such a beautiful person! I long for my husband to speak of me the way you speak of her. I pray that you will continue to seek Him in all that you do. You are a blessing. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so thankful to God for using me and my story in other people’s lives, and if other’s lives can be changed through this, then it’s worth my pain and suffering. I only have issue if nothing good comes from this (even if the good isn’t for me). Thank you for reading and following along and for being teachable by God.

  10. Reading your blog feels like reading my journal only from the opposite perspective. I panicked the first time I took my ring off. I remember feeling like my last bit of protection was gone. One day as I went to put it back on I could feel God asking me what I was doing and I told him I hated feeling like I didn’t belong to someone any more. In my heart I gently felt Him say “you do belong to someone, you belong to me” and after that I felt so much more confident about it and now I wear a ring that reminds me of that moment. After I was at peace over that, I felt as though God gave me the freedom to put my wedding ring on my right hand as a “rock of remeberence” of where God has taken me in life. He loves you, Brad. Much love in Christ and prayers to you and your family.


  11. She is still your wife, even if she isn’t here anymore. If the ring feels right, keep it on. It was and still is a symbol of your love and commitment to her.

    My husband and I have my parents rings. It was special because it allowed my dad to kind of be there on my wedding day as I am sure for your children one day it will kind of allow their mother to be there and be a part of their wedding day.

  12. Your rings are just so beautiful. You tell your story and are showing all of us through the way your heart writes about the love that you two shared.
    You may want to take the ring off and I can’t say if I were in your shoes what the “right” thing is to do. I guess its what you and your heart feels is good for you. But no need to rush it. You could keep it on for as long as you feel. Being married for 5 years would be really hard to just take it off. I’ve been married for 10 and I feel naked when I don’t have mine on. I too don’t wear it at home but when I leave it goes right with me almost subconsiously. Thanks for sharing the picture. My heart breaks for you and your families.

  13. Brad,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings through this time. I confess that my wife has been following your thread and has been updating me on occasion. The first log I read was Sadness. I remember crying for you and your family that night.

    I too, once lost a wife, but not to death. 12 years ago last June I got married because “it seemed like the thing to do” at the time. You see, although I had been saved for years, to my shame, neither I, nor my wife at the time (who was not a believer), had been walking with God, and did not invite Him to be a part of our marriage. As you can imagine, the cord of two strands is easily broken without the Third that binds it together, and the end result was that on a June day four years later our marriage ended in divorce as a result of my wife’s adultery. During the divorce and for some time after I remeber feeling the lonliness, sadness, and hurt. But in my sadness and grief, God drew me back to Him. Around that time I started coming to PHBC, and met a woman of noble character who my gracious and merciful Father would bless me with to be my wife 3 years later.

    The reason I would like to thank you for pouring your heart out on this site is that you have reminded me what an awesome treasure and blessing my wife is. I do not know why our Father decided to take Stephanie from this world, but the impression that I get from your posts is that you gave her a lifetime of love in the short time you had togther. May God help me do the same.

    Regarding the ring. I have always felt naked without mine. I remeber my first wife took my ring off of my finger when things were finalized. Your situation of course is different. I guess the best I can say is that our Father knows your heart. He will let you know when it’s time.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story with me and for sharing how my story has affected you. I said in an earlier comment that it really just make things worthwhile for me if good is coming from the crap I now have. Even if the good isn’t in my life, as long as God uses this for His glory, I can accept the pain. I’m always very glad to hear how He is using it in other people’s lives. I do pray that you do treasure your wife and that God will bind you both together more each and every day.

  14. Your heart will guide you when it comes to your rings. If you feel more comfortible wearing it, then that is fine. You still do love her and you are still her husband as she is still your wife. The ring is a symbol of that love and unity, which will never fade or go away. But even if you choose not to, if that’s what feels more right, she will never be apart from you. You will always carry her memory in your heart. That is where your commitment and unity originates from and there is nothing in this world or the next that will ever change that. God will guide you when it comes to what is best and right.

  15. Hmmmm. Isn’t the whole “marking time” by different measures a weird thing. While reading your post, I was just struck by the fact that I do the same thing – but not always in the same way. After my mom died, I remember thinking… ‘I’ve been motherless for 3 days….I’ve been motherless for 3 weeks… I’ve been motherless for 3 years….’

    BUT the weird thing is, I also found myself doing the same thing with my kids: “He’s 3 hours old and will never be so young again. He’s been 3 weeks old and will never be so young again.” Somehow, as my kids aged, I found myself mourning the time passing there as well.

    Just something I was thinking about.

  16. I don’t know you but came across your blog on a friend’s page. My husband lost his mom to breast cancer when she was far too young, and her rings sat in a jewelry box for many, many years. I have now proudly worn them for 3 1/2 years and think of the beautiful woman that my husband, his sister, and my father-in-law lost. It is my piece of her, and I pray that a special woman will one day feel the same about Stephanie’s rings.

    Indeed God gives and takes away – may he GIVE grace in this season in ways you have never before known.

    1. Thank you so much for reading my story. I’m glad you found it and were willing to share in my journey and share your thoughts. It means so much to me to hear from people who have their spouse’s parent’s ring, and it really solidifies the desire in my heart that one of my children should get my wife’s rings. Thank you so much for your thoughts and for sharing them with me.

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