A Symbol of Love and Commitment — Wedding Ring Etiquette after the Death of a Spouse
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, over 14 million widowed people are living in America. The majority of these are women, with men accounting for less than 25% of the sample.
Losing a spouse is one of the most devastating losses a person can go through. A widowed person not only has to go through their grieving journey, but also has to deal with all sorts of responsibilities such as the burial, the funeral arrangements, and sifting through the belongings of their loved one. Among those difficult decisions they have to make is decising is what to do with their wedding rings.
After years of being married, it’s natural for people to become attached to their wedding rings. It’s a symbol of their love and commitment with their spouse. It becomes a concrete reminder of their loved one after their death and they might find it impossible to part with it.
How long a widowed person continues to wear their ring is ultimately up to them. This is a very personal decision and there is not right or wrong way, but whatever is right for you.
Bury it with the loved one
For a lot of people, the time right after the death of their spouse can be excruciatingly painful. They are barely hanging on to their emotions and don’t give the ring much thought.
However, some people chose to bury their ring with their loved one as a symbol of their undying love. The ring can be placed on their finger or left in a small pouch along with any other mementos of their time together.
Continue to wear it
A lot of people chose to keep wearing the ring long after the death of their spouse. There is no established etiquette for how long a ring should be worn. For many widowed people, it provides a feeling of comfort and an unbroken bond with their deceased spouse. Some people chose to switch it to the other hand to avoid ambiguity in social events.
Have it remade
One of the options on how to preserve the wedding ring is to have it remade into a different type of jewelry. Experienced jewelers can help widowed people turn the ring into beautiful heirlooms such as pins, lockets, or brooches. The ring can become a family heirloom and serve as a reminder of the marriage while allowing the widowed person to move on without feeling guilty.
Pass it on
Many widowed people choose to pass on the ring to their children or grandchildren. Bequeathing the ring to a member of the family allows it to remain a part of their lives and become a symbol of love and hope for the next generation. In the case of multiple children, the ring is usually passed on to the firstborn or the child who will most appreciate the sentimental value of that piece of jewelry.
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