8 years ago, after a year of dealing with stomach cancer, my husband passed away. As any widow knows, this is an utterly devastating thing to happen, even if you are towards the end of your life, you know it is the ‘natural’ conclusion, and your spouse feels ready to go.
Being left behind takes quite a bit of getting used to, there is no doubt about it. But we can’t bury ourselves in our grief for the rest of our lives. We need to find a way to recover and move on
Some of us choose to remarry, and so did I, although this is a different kind of marriage.
I Married Myself
In a ceremony in the woods behind my house, I stood by myself and took off my engagement ring and wedding band that had symbolized my relationship to my husband.
It felt hugely important, relieving, and sad and tearful all at the same time. I didn’t know why it was so important to take those rings off. I was just trusting, because it didn’t feel right anymore to wear them.
What felt right was to have my fingers bare – until it didn’t.
After a fairly short while, I had a flash of inspiration and realized that I needed to buy a new ring and marry myself.
When the idea took hold, I didn’t want to rush with it. I knew that the right ring and ceremony will present themselves to me at the right time.
A Special Ring
The ring, an intricate design of overlapping circles, showed itself to me in the local high street jewellers (bonus points, as I like to support the local economy).
Then, while I was walking on Findhorn beach, a beautiful stone grabbed my attention. Its message was clear: “I represent the lines of the life flowing through you; the 2 halves of your life (before Philip died and after), and the crystal in the middle is your essence, who you really are.”
I took it, knowing it would be important in whatever ceremony was to follow.
A few days later, the perfect place for the ceremony presented itself into my mind. A spot on the Findhorn river where I had gone skinny dipping in the heat of the previous summer. It was important as a symbol of emerging to the world from the caves of grief.
So one day, having decked myself out in some new pretty lingerie, just like a bride would, and before I met with my women’s group, I went off to the river. (A quick detour to my favourite café had me writing my vows to myself in my journal over a cup of coffee.)
Down by the rushing river, which was much higher than it had been in the summer, I had a private little ceremony – with Philip’s energy in the air quietly and lovingly approving and applauding – and put the ring on my finger.
I left the stone there as a memento of this new page in my life. I was singing all the way back, walking along the river path.
At my women’s group later that day, we held a celebration, toasting with a special bottle of wine.
We Need New Beginnings
To this day, I still wear my ring because I am committed to myself. It helped me live through my loss and grief and embrace my new life.
I cherish the moment of that beautiful ritual, because it helped me move on and open up to new beginnings. I have now met a new man and we’re building a new life together.
What ritual could you do to feel good about where you are in your life? How often do you listen to your intuition and let it guide you? Please join in and let’s have a conversation!