I was discussing jewelry with my mother once and she said she might still have her old wedding ring from Lee. I asked her if it was fancy in any way and she said it was just a plain gold band but had an inscription in it. "What did it say?" "Oh, it said something like 'love everlasting' or some crap like that." I'm sure many years from now I'll find that ring in all of Mom's stuff and I'll probably keep it too. I still have one of the wedding rings from my first marriage. I won't say it's a ring from Jeremy because it's actually one his mother gave me. My engagement ring and wedding band were Jeremy's grandmother's and I remember taking them out of his cabinet many a time to ponder them while we were dating. He would eventually give me those rings and I wore them every day we were married.
This plain gold band, though, was Mary's. She had received it from Jeremy's father Carl as her wedding band, thin with a slight milgrain to compliment her solitaire. I was sitting on her bed and she was going through her jewelry box. She offered it to me somewhat apologetically. Jeremy's parents divorced when he was still an infant and I think Mary thought the ring might be a bit of bad luck. But I happily took it. I told myself that wearing it with the other bands was a symbol that even a bad relationship can produce a good person.
I handed over his grandmother's rings to Jeremy the day I left him, but I asked to keep the one from Mary and Carl. It was another reminder for me that bad relationships still have good people in them. The ring is handsome, simple and inexpensive. I don't ever wear it anymore and I can't imagine I would. I don't think I'd give it to anyone else. It's been through two marriages that didn't work out, so I think it's time to retire it. But some part of me just can't get rid of it. It's as if getting rid of the ring would throw away anything of worth from the marriages. So I keep it. I take it out and look at it on rare occasions, but mostly it just rests in my jewelry box.
I suppose even after two failed marriages, it's still doing its job as a symbol, though. It may not say love everlasting "or some crap like that," but it speaks of good intentions, honest mistakes and potential in a simple package. That makes it worth keeping as far as I'm concerned.