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Taking off the wedding band

I removed my wedding bands for a little while this weekend.

I stared at my empty, but ring imprinted finger for a while and imagined what it would feel like never wearing them again. I haven't removed my rings in over 20 years. They are a part of me now.

One thing you don't think about after a spouse dies is when is the right time to take off your wedding band. For shits and giggles I googled it this weekend. Although I know it is a very personal decision for each person, I was just curious what people did.

To my surprise, many said they took it off the moment their spouse died. They didn't feel married anymore and felt they should no longer wear the the ring.

Others, said they waited 6 months to a year. I found that older women never take theirs off at all.

Most people assume when you take off your ring you are "announcing" that you are ready to date again.

That is not the case with me. I look at my ring and while I cherish it, I also feel like it could keep me stuck in the past. Listen, no one wants their spouse to die, and when it is sudden, you don't know what the hell just happened. It is so easy to live in the past and not move forward with your life. It's safer, it's what you know and it's who you are.

But the shitty fact is, I am no longer a partner with Dan. I am now me, just me alone.

I love being married. More, I LOVED being Dan Regan's wife. It gave me great pride to say to someone, "I am Dan Regan's wife." I wished I had shared that with him... He had no idea how I felt telling people who I was.

But, I am not Dan's wife anymore. I WAS his wife and and now I am Karen Regan. I guess I always was, but in many ways, I hid my identity behind his.

Dan took care of me for over 20 years. He did everything and I felt safe with him at the held. The torch has now been passed, like it or not, and now I have to stand on my own two feet.

My ring, in my opinion, holds me back in some ways. It keeps me stuck in that I am Dan's wife and I don't need to be strong or responsible. He will...

By removing the ring, I am declaring my independence and that I am standing on my own two feet. That Dan taught me I can do this.. without him.

I have had people observe that I am still wearing my ring and others who said they'd be shocked if I took it off this soon. People have their opinions and I know no matter what decision I make, it will offend some. I am not going to satisfy everyone and so I won't even try.

You have NO idea what you would do if you lost your spouse. I know I had no idea. I never dreamed that I would think about taking them off so soon, but I never thought about what the ring symbolizes now that he's GONE.

I put the rings back on after a few minutes. I am not quite ready to remove them for good. Maybe I will work up to it by removing them each night and putting them back on in the morning? I don't know, but I do know I will be removing them sooner rather than later.

It will NOT represent my will to date. I need to find my own way and be my own person first. I am not the same girl who married Dan 20 years ago. Hell, these last 6 months alone has changed me in more ways that I could have imagined.

So much of it good though. It's been tough, but I am doing it. I know Dan would be so proud of me. I am proud of me.

I don't have a doubt that when I remove my rings for good, Dan will be the first cheering me on and telling me he is happy that I can take care of myself.