Widows and Their Wedding Rings

A year ago I thought about taking my rings off but I just was not ready.  It was almost four years but it didn’t feel right to me.

More time has passed and it will soon be five years that I went from wife to widow and lately I’ve put more thought into my wedding rings.

The wedding ring symbolizes our love for our spouses and afterwards it’s a comfort as a reminder of our love.  It can also stop unwanted advances as we grieve.  There are as many reasons to keep wearing them as there is to remove them.

Some widows move their rings to their other hand or pass their rings on to someone they feel close to such as a daughter or granddaughter.

In the end I took it to a jeweler and made two pendants out of them– one for me and one for our daughter.  I cannot lie, it was hard to take them off but once I dropped them off at the jeweler I felt at peace and the decision was made.

I just picked them up this week and I love what they did.  I will let our daughter have her pick because it doesn’t matter to me. No matter what I will always have one of them to wear and with it I will have all its love and memories.

Wedding rings as pendants for widow

49 Responses

  1. saintpat

    The wedding ring as pendants is very nice! I was married to my hnusband almost 50 years, and I have our ring on now after one year of widowhood. Occasionally, I put his wedding ring, identical to mine, on a bigger finger on my right hand. I like the look of the 2 wide gold bands. It seems to me anything you do is perfectly okay. Feel no obligation to do anything except what you feel like doing then. Later, it could be different, and that’s fine too.

  2. Mary Francis

    I agree with you that a widow should do what she is comfortable with and not let the comments of others make her feel rushed to take her rings off. It took me over four years to remove my rings and even so it was strange to have my ring finger go bare so I purchased a ring just for that finger. Thanks for sharing, Mary Francis

  3. Karen Brevard

    My late husband and daughter decided to surprise me with a new wedding ring for Christmas. Before the plan could come into full fruition, he passed from cancer. When we went to the jewelers to pick it up, the jeweler and the other associates encouraged me to keep and wear it forever. They were all a part of the initial surprise. They were saddened to hear of my husbands death. The ring is absolutely gorgeous, the ring of a life time! He paseed December 16, 2012. I’m glad I took their advice. It brings me such joy whenever I look at my left index finger. Memories are precious.

  4. Mary Francis

    It’s a perfect memory and as you said “memories are precious”. Take care, Mary Francis

  5. Kathleen Chamis

    I will continue to wear my wedding ring as a reminder of
    all the love and happiness we shared not only with my
    husband and myself, but with my two sterling sons and
    daughter in laws. No more weddings for me! I am independent, have my own business as a violin teacher and professional violinist , continue my Biblical Theological
    undergraduate seminary studies, have our good long time
    friends I get together with on Sundays for church . No worries.No problems. Will be into my 2nd year and I
    praise the Lord for all my blessings!


  6. Alicia Baxter

    Can’t believe it. My husband passed from cancer on May 3, 2014. A grief counselor from hospice comes out once a month to talk and I saw her just last night and we talked about this very subject because someone had asked me why I was still wearing my wedding ring. It’s only been 4 months! This morning when checking my email I received this post about wedding rings. Coincidence? This post just reaffirmed to me that it’s ok to keep wearing it. I look at it everyday and it reminds me of how lucky I was to have him for 35 years.

  7. Theresa Schwarz

    I lost my husband the day before my birthday in October 2014. I wear both my engagement/wedding rings when we were first married and the past/present/future ring he gave me when we received the sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church. I resized my husband’s wedding ring and wear it on my right thumb. This first year of “firsts” has been a roller coaster, but God sees me through every day and every moment. I thank Him for the 31+ years we were together.

  8. Monica Mullins

    My husband passed 8 years ago. I still wear my original wedding ring set he bought me 42 years ago. I have no desire to remarry. And the remind me of the love we shared.



  10. Loretta Brown

    My husband of 25 years passed away March 24, 2015. I thought that, by tradition, I was supposed to move my wedding rings to my right hand to indicate widowhood. However, no one seems to have heard of doing this and I had a man say that yes, he had heard of it but he thought it meant a widow was ready to be “hit on”. I was horrified and quickly switched my rings back to my left hand. Was I wrong about the right-hand thing?

  11. Mary Francis

    Sorry Loretta about the loss of your husband. I don’t think that many widows follow traditions like they used to. If we did we would still be wearing black for a year to show the world we are in mourning. Having wedding rings on your right hand doesn’t really mean anything as many people where their mothers rings on their right hand. Also, it’s hard to tell what is a wedding ring as the styles are not always what we may thing is “normal”.

    I would suggest that you do whatever feels right for you. Keep your rings on or take them off or change hands – I think the current tradition is to do what makes you comfortable. Take care, Mary Francis

  12. Maureene Timken

    What a wonderful site. I am 16 days away from being a
    one year widow. I was married for 35 years and this is the
    most difficult loss of my life. I so appreciate everyone’s
    thoughts about our wedding rings. I have go back and forth about a decision. I took it off yesterday and after all
    of your kind words, I have put it back on and it will stay.
    Regards, Maureene

  13. Christy MCMillan

    How wonderful to find your website! I have lost my husband also. We were married 38 hears. I cannot bring myself to remove my ring…and am glad to see others saying the same.

  14. Barbara

    I lost my husband 10/12/11.  We were together for about 48 years.  I can't even think about taking my ring off as it represents our love & I have no desire to remarry. I keep thinking back to our wedding vows: 'til death us do part.  Then, what?  I cry every day.  I still see a bereavement therapist.  I have no life as our "friends" seemed to have disappeared.  I keep asking G-d to take me as I would rather be with him than alone.  I live with my daughter & her family in a 2-room apartment.  But that is not enough.  I can't seem to focus on anything more than food shopping, doctors' appointments, & paying my bills.  I sometimes seem to go into a fog & don't realize how much time has passed.  I get up late & go to bed late.  The high part of my day is watching TV from 8-11 PM.  This is no life.  

  15. Mary Francis

    You’re right Barbara – your life is valuable and there has to be more to it than watching TV.  First thing is that I don’t think you should take off your rings.  Keep them on forever if that is what you want.  You said that you are going to a “bereavement therapist” but you didn’t say how long.  If it’s been for a short period have patience as it may take time to work through your grief.  If however its been a long period of time you may want to consider another therapist.  Even though that therapist may be the very best in their field that doesn’t always mean that they are a match for everyone.  I would talk to your doctor about the fact that you can’t focus and seem to go into a fog.  Some of your medications may be causing this effect and should be looked at by your doctor.  Bottom line – nothing changes unless you change.  Start with small changes that you can easily do such as seeing your doctor and revisiting your therapist.   Take care, Mary Francis 

  16. Sylvia

    My husband passed away December 26,2015. We would have been married 60 years this past June 30th. My heart is still grieving but have wonderful support from family and Church. I,too, have wondered what to do with my rings. I cry each time I think I should do that. So they will for now stay on my left hand because he put them there. I would be open to have the rings made into something beautiful to wear with a necklace, and I still have his band. I  have heard the rings and band could be put together in a beautiful necklace piece. However, I prefer saving the band for grandson should he want it. Any suggestions would be welcome

  17. Mary Francis

    I think you have it right Sylvia in leaving your rings on your left hand for now.  When you are ready to do something different with them I would suggest going to a jeweller to get some ideas on what you can have made out of them.  It would be great if your grandson wanted the band and I think it’s a great idea to hold on to it until he is ready to make that decision.  Take care. Mary Francis

  18. k.lovinia hedges

    I too lost my beloved Malcolm after 54years together and I will always wear my wedding ring on my left hand and my mothers on my right hand, his gold band I wear on a chain around my neck with a gold locket saying M for L, and together they keep him closer to me. Thank you all for a wonderful site.  Lovinia H.

  19. Mathmom411

    I'm adding – because I fear others are out there like me – I took mine off.  Initally, I NEVER thought about my band.  Of course I wore it – it was part of me.  We were together 33 years.  Love at first sight – lightning bolts and all that for both of us back in college.  He was my best friend.  He declined for 3 years from his brain tumor.  Then, several months later, while I was still in that horrendous gray fog of emptiness (going to many grief support groups), I looked at my left hand and the tears would not stop.  I wasn't married.  I had NEVER thought about that.  I was NO LONGER MARRIED!  EGADS!

    It was like that first time I had to check off "widow" at my doctor's office and I nearly fell to the floor in grief.  I was sobbing.  I couldn't finish the paperwork.  The receptionist whisked me off to a waiting room and hugged me.  That was so awful.

    As much as I was trying to survive one day at a time without him, the ring poked at my heart.  Our relationship will never change – I will always love him, he will always love me.  But I could NOT wear it on my finger – it made me so so so inconsolably lonely and sad.  This does NOT mean I do NOT love him.  I bought a gold chain and wore our bands together.  Our rings were united – next to my heart.  My little secret.  My comfort. Sometimes on display, sometimes tucked away beneath my blouse, sweater, workout clothes.

    Just like our grief journey – our wedding band "to wear or not to wear choice" is personal.  Individual.  Just like the band itself.  But I rarely see anyone post who chooses NOT to wear it.  So I thought I would.  I miss him so much.  It will be two years in just a few days.  sigh.  I am who I am because of his love … and his death.  I am learning to comfortably wear this thing called grief….. and for me, comfort is NOT seeing the wedding band on my left finger, but around my neck, with my small tiny band fitting snuggly inside of his.

  20. Chozella Undi

    Hi. Its been 1 month and 6 days ..since my husband Patrick passed. We were together for 10 years. Im 43 now. We had no children. I live in Lusaka, Zambia in Africa.  I just want to be with him. I know my time has not yet come but i do look forward to seeing him again. Im still in shock. still waiting for him to come back…its like he went away…on a trip….right now i cant even think of removing my rings or re- marrying.  Before i met Patrick i wrote a list of all the attributes i wanted in my husband. ..out of about 25 items on that list..Patrick had 22 of the things i wanted in a spouse. The other 3 things on my list….well ..my marriage was great without them. I cant imagine God could better that. I will always love you, Patrick.  I want so much to be with you again.

  21. Barbara Chrisman

    I appreciate so much finding this website and reading everyone’s posts sharing what I find to be a lonely road. My beloved husband of 44 years (plus a year engaged) “promoted to Heaven” on 11/1/2016 and, having devoted everything I could for 15 years to helping him live and beat kidney failure, after 3 years of very difficult but also precious and priceless days together, I’m feeling lost. We widows/widowers are all of a sudden fifth wheels of sorts and, while trying not to bring down everyone who worries about and cares for us, we must hour by hour figure out how to keep moving forward without feeling like it or wanting to, for we don’t get to know how long we must wait for the reunion with our Lord and our beloved.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your heartfelt story of coping and thriving and existing all rolled into one journey. Thanks to Mathmom411; I put my rings on and take them off as nothing feels “right” … I will know I’m not the only one who removes them if I do choose to do that. Blessings to all.

  22. Mary Francis

    Thank you Barbara for sharing your story. Widows supporting widows is what helps us all to heal as we grieve.

    Take care of yourself, Mary Francis

  23. Mathmom411

    Hugs to you Barbara.

    I’ve thought about having our two rings made into some type of single piece of jewelry …. but … I like that they are our wedding RINGS … our eternal symbol of love ….. so …. I don’t know. I didn’t even want a diamond – I just wanted a wedding band that matched his. I loved our bands – they were sooo pretty. they were not smooth – they were faceted – caught the light. We were happily married 26 years.

    I DID buy a ring for me after his death …. has 5 diamonds … representing our family: me, him, 3 boys. I wear that white gold band on my right hand. THAT ring makes me happy – he loved being a dad. It was all he wanted. He told me he was “good to go” because he was proud of his 3 boys and he had a beautiful wife and marriage. He said, “what more do I need? I’ve done what I was meant to do.” Because he had brain cancer …. we had a long illness before I walked him up to the gates of Heaven. He was looking forward to it. Needless to say, Boy I Miss Him.

  24. PAM

    I lost my husband of 45 years to cancer. I’ve thought of getting an eternity band but as of yet have not removed my wedding ring. With an eternity band I thought that might be a reminder of my eternal love for my husband. I’ve looked at eternity bands several times and each time I walk away without picking one out. I have no desire to remarry so most likely will just keep wearing my wedding ring for a while and when I am ready move to an eternity band.

  25. Cindy

    I lost my husband of 47 years to cancer just over 5 months ago. Hospice was wonderful and has kept in touch with me continually since. They even made me a “teddy bear” from one of his shirts so I have something to hug on when the need arises. Which is quite often. I did wonder about our wedding rings and what others expected me to do. I am thankful that I came across this site and realised that it’s not a set rule and it’s ok to do just what I am comfortable with. I have kept my wedding rings on and now wear his band on a chain around my neck. I don’t think I will make any change for now but I do like the idea of an eternity band as a possibility in the future. My husband was my life and I want to keep him as close to me as possible. I find comfort in keeping his pictures around me as I talk to him continuously. This grieving process is new for me and I know I have a long way to go but I total agree to do whatever you need to do. Thank you all for allowing me to express myself too. God bless you through your grieving and may you find some comfort

  26. Julie

    I lost my husband suddenly on November 30, 2016 from a heart attack. He was 53 and I’m 46. This was a second marriage for both of us, and a blended family. All of our children lived with us. We had a wonderful life! Each of us had a really bad first marriage, so, we really appreciated each other all the more. We never knew that this was what God had intended true love to be! Our hearts were connected and we were soulmates. I say all that because I will never take off my wedding band. ( We couldn’t afford an engagement ring, but I would rather have a good man than a diamond.) I want to wear my husband’s wedding band on my finger as well but I’m not sure all the options. Right now a good friend bought me a special heart necklace that opens and allows the wedding band to slide on, then closes so it won’t fall off. It’s great, but I really think I would prefer to wear his ring as a ring as well. Anyone else have any ideas or do anything similar?

  27. Mary Francis

    I had my rings made into a pendant to wear around my neck. There are comments from others on my blog. I think your right about wearing it until your comfortable taking it off and for some they never do. And that’s okay? because it’s all about what you decide. Take care. Mary Francis

  28. Mary Francis

    Thank you for sharing. Mary Francis

  29. A B Taylor

    It was with a Happy yet Broken Heart I released my Mr. Wonderful of 25 years to the Lords arms just 2 1/2 weeks ago. (2/03/2017) Tom was a 17 year post injury TBI survivor from a car accident. We were wonderful HelpMates through this journey! I had the easy part of being the solution finder for all the pain and suffering he went through daily!
    I like the idea of having the 2 loves of my life (my sweet Daddy and now Tom) wedding bands worn on a gold chain-close to my heart! Together as We all move forward at different paces, know that HIS Daily bread is sufficient- One day At a Time!

  30. susan

    I lost my dearest husband Chuck to cancer in February 2017 just 7 weeks ago. We were married just over eight years and I couldn’t have received a better man to share my life with. When we said “until death do us part” I don’t think I was truly prepared for it so soon into our union, he was 50 and I am 49…I look at my rings as the symbol of my total love for him and his for me, I do not believe I will remove them. I wear his band on a chain around my neck. My plan at this moment is to never remarry, I honestly could not even dare love someone else but as I know in life there are no guarantees…I take it one hour at a time at this moment, I strive to get to one day at a time…I have faith that will guide me and the thought of being with my love again keeps me smiling…

  31. Suzanne

    I am so pleased to find this website. I have been struggling about my wedding ring and I am so glad I’m not the only one that finds comfort in wearing it. I lost my husband Nov 2014 from a heartache at the age of 48. It happened so fast, I still can’t believe he is gone. We were married for 25 years with 3 beautiful children. I can honestly say he was my sole mate. He was my everything! I was feeling people would think I was crazy still wearing my wedding ring. I was concerned about others thinking I wasn’t healing since I still had my ring on. It keeps me connected to him. I didn’t choose to be a widow, so I will not take it off. I don’t plan to remarry, so if it helps so be it. Until we are together again my love, forever in my heart!

  32. Mary Francis

    Dear Suzanne. I was married 27 years and only 50 when Donnie died so I can relate to your pain. Wedding rings are the most personal of all items and desire the respect and love we give them. Don’t worry about what others think and do what your heart tells you. Take care of yourself. Mary Francis

  33. Annie

    I lost my husband of 10 years on March 11, 2017. I had lost my previous husband of 29 years in Feb. 2005. I just ordered a “widows band” that is black titanium that I can wear with my present wedding ring. There are many beautiful black bands and some complete with CZ or diamonds that you can add to your wedding set. At 63, and after being widowed twice, I certainly don’t plan on getting married again. Loosing my second husband has been the most difficult thing I have every had to face. Sending prayers of peace and comfort to all of the women in our sisterhood.

  34. Barbara Ann Flournoy

    I lost my husband to cancer on March 7, 2017. We had been married 56 years; I was almost 19 when
    We got married; he was 24. Morgan was a wonderful man, husband, father, grandfather and great-
    grandfather. I cry myself to sleep every night. I miss him so very much, but I know he is in a far better
    place and no longer suffering. I feel like I have lost half of me; and I have lost the best part of me.
    My wedding set was a small diamond engagement ring and a delicate wedding band. Afte 30 years of marriage and loving antiques, we replaced the engagement ring with a wide gold band set with garnets that had been given to a bride over a century ago. My delicate gold bandB fits under the garnet band. The gold band will not come of of my finger and I will continue to wear both. Morgan was the love of my life.

  35. Mary Francis

    Thank you for sharing.

  36. Mary Randall

    I lost my wonderful husband in January, 2017 after 15 years of suffering the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (too many concussions) which looks like Parkinson’s and dementia. We had been married almost 46 happy years and his passing has left a huge hole in my life. I had to take off my wedding band. Every time I saw it, I cried. Now I wear my engagement ring on that finger and have both our wedding bands on a bracelet that I wear on special occasions. Glad there are so many appropriate options!

  37. Sibabalwe Mehlo

    I lost my husband on the 16th September 2008. We were married for 5 years and known each other for 18 years. It was the hardest time of my life. I still miss him everyday. I took off my ring after 7 years. I feel ready at that time to take it off. He was my friend and brother. I still think lot about him. He will always be part of my life.

  38. Debra

    In,let my husband the end of January 2017. He suffered a massive stroke 2 1/2 years earlier and was paralyzed, couldn’t speak, write or do anything for himself, except feed himself. There was so much damage to his brain and the damage continued to spread, similar to Alzheimer’s. it was heart breaking to watch his decline. We met at work 36 years earlier and ended up sitting next to each other, car pooling to work, eating lunch together and even working on the same programs. He was my best friend and soul mate. I miss him so much. I wear his wedding band on my left hand next to my wedding and engagement rings. Just came across this site and thank you for sharing all the options.

  39. Sue

    I lost my husband 2 months ago today. I wear my ring and his now. I still have no idea of how to move forward. As another lady wrote, you don’t want to be a depressive bother to family and friends. So I pretty much stay in my room watching TV or just sleeping. Tried a trip to our favorite beach spot, only made it 10 times worst. No plans to remarry, no man could beat him. Just lonely in a world full of people. For now the rings stay. Don’t know whats ahead.

  40. Mary Francis

    Dear Sue you are only two months into this journey and expecting too much from yourself. It’s okay and normal to feel the way you do as grief has to have its time. None of us widows feel like doing anything for months so don’t worry that you are struggling at this early stage. However, don’t become isolated from the support of friends and family as we need them to heal. Take care of yourself because you matter. Mary Francis

  41. Inga

    I recognise so much of what others say on this page, even though my situation is slightly different. I lost my fiancé, the one true love of my life, four months ago after two years of cancer. He was 36, I am 33. We were engaged for 8 months and had been wearing our wedding bands since we got engaged – for good luck, and because we didn’t know whether we would get the chance to get married in between all the hospital visits and treatments. He was buried wearing his wedding band – but at home I found his engagement band. I’ve continued to wear my engagement ring and wedding band, and his engagement band on my left index finger, every day. So, I never even got the chance to get married, but am wearing 3 rings. I never take them off and have no plans to take them off. They make me feel physically connected to him. To me, it’s a symbol that I’m his. I always will be.

  42. Carol

    Thank you for this website I lost my husband 18 months ago today. We had been married 42 years he left me two days befor Christmas. I too am still wearing my wedding rings and at this point have no intention of taking them off. I am still working for a few more months and then will be retiring. I mention this only because one of the women I work with started 2 weeks after I went back to work asking me when I was going to take my wedding ring off. The first time I excused myself and went to the bathroom and cried the next couple of times I went home at the end of the day crying. The last time I told her it was none of her business, and sorry but it felt good to stand up to her. It is a personal choice mine is to wear the rings Bobby put on my hand 42 years ago.

  43. Mary Francis

    Dear Carol, you are right to stand up for what feels right to you. I wore my wedding rings for years before I took them off. I know some widows that choose to wear them for the rest of their lives. It’s your personal decision – period. No explanation needed. Mary Francis

  44. Beverly Mayle

    Hello my name is Beverly I recently lost my husband on 8/16/17 of 26 years to COPD and I am very lonely without him but rejoicing knowing he is no longer suffering. I look at my rings and remember how special the day was we united as one my ? Is shattered but with family members friends and God guidance I’m hoping for strength to pull through ?

  45. Robin

    When my beloved husband and best friend of more than half a century died of cancer, I slipped his wedding ring off his hand and placed it on my own hand….second finger, left hand next to the finger on which I wore my wedding rings. He had selected both my rings and his own and they were not a matched set….for me he bought white gold and diamonds, for himself a broad gold band with three inset star sapphires. He never took his wedding band off, no matter what he was doing. When he died, the sapphires were no longer beautiful but battered, dulled, and one was shattered but still intact. Still he wore it always and to me it was symbolic of him and the strength of his feelings about our marriage. It looked strange next to my white gold/diamond glitter, so I took my rings off and placed them in my jewelry box. I had his ring downsized and still wear it on the second finger, left hand. I love it and all that it symbolizes and it will remain on my hand until the day I, too, die.

  46. Nell

    I am so glad I found this website. I lost my husband of six years ( second marriages for both of us.) to cancer suddenly on June 6 2017. We only found out that he had liver cancer on March 6, 2017. We loved each other so much. We were so good together. He was the strongest and best human being I had ever known. After a lot of failed relationships we found each other and our children all loved each other. So rare. I keep thinking after over & months I would be getting better but I just can’t think of living life without him. I know in my mind he is in a better place but my heart will never understand why my loving God took him from me. So I still wear my wedding rings and can not bear to think about taking them off. I tried one time to go to a grief share group at church and could not bear to go back. It seems like our rings are what makes me feel closest to him. I just want him back.

  47. Mary Francis

    To have loved and losted twice to a mixed blessing of having had been loved and yet having the pain of grief. For sure your wedding rings are part of your love and you should do what feels right to you because that’s what is important. Take care of yourself. Mary Francis

  48. Annie

    I wear his wedding ring on the finger next to mine, so they touch, all the time. It is a great comfort to me. I, too, have been widowed twice, but this time, after only 10 years, has shattered my life, as the love was so special. We have to do what feel right for us, as we are all unique in our love and our feelings.

  49. Annie

    Your story is so similar to mine. I lost my husband on 3-11-17, and still wear his wedding ring on the finger next to mine, so they are together, as we were. Sending you loving prayers for healing.

Leave a Reply