What Should a Widow Do With Her Rings?

What Should a Widow Do With Her Rings?
Maryalene LaPonsie

By Maryalene LaPonsie | May 25th, 2017

At age 35, I became a widow. My husband of 15 years was a strong man but no match for esophageal cancer. It’s been four years since he took his final breath early one beautiful May morning. Since then, our five children and I have walked the bewildering path people take when a loved one is snatched away too soon. We have grieved; we have raged; but we have weathered the storm together.

I also started a blog. It’s become a great form of personal therapy and also allowed me to connect with so many other widows. One of the questions I hear again and again is what should a widow do with her rings?

Only you know the right answer to that question, but you have three options.

Keep Your Ring

It’s your ring. You don’t have to do anything with it. Personally, I continue to wear mine for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’d rather put yours on a chain around your neck or in a box in a closet. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to give up your wedding ring. If you want it, store it or wear it however is comfortable for you.

Give Your Ring Away

It could be that you no longer want to wear your ring, and it doesn’t feel right to keep it locked up for no one to enjoy. In that case, you may want to see if one of your children would like it as their own wedding ring. However, keep in mind that choosing a wedding ring is a highly personal decision. Don’t be offended if your child would rather select their own. If the ring was an heirloom from your husband’s side of the family, one of his relatives might also cherish the opportunity to have it.

Sell Your Ring

Blasphemy, right? How could you possibly sell the treasured symbol of your husband’s love? Certainly, it’s not right for everyone, but consider this: does the ring still bring you joy? Or do you feel a stab of grief every time you see it?

For a long time, I held on to items that caused me pain simply because they represented a connection to my husband. Then I realized he would not want that for me. He wouldn’t want me brought to tears every time I saw something of his.

Depending on its value, your wedding ring may represent the opportunity to take a restorative vacation or renovate your living space. It could provide money to update your skills and reenter the workforce. If you don’t want the ring, don’t feel guilty about selling it. Consider whatever you buy with the proceeds to be one final, parting gift from your beloved.

Note: If you are newly widowed, please do not sell your wedding ring right away. Give yourself six months or a year to grieve and then decide.

Maryalene LaPonsie

Maryalene LaPonsie

Maryalene is a personal finance writer, mother of five and keeper of memories for her late husband. She is a regular contributor to U.S. News & World Report, and her work has been featured on MSN and CBS News.


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