Rings in the River

Wedding rings.  They’re the ultimate symbol of a marriage.  What are you supposed to do with them if you get divorced?

I had completely forgotten that I still had mine.  Long ago, shortly after I first told Tyler that I wanted a divorce, he had stolen my engagement ring off my dresser and left his wedding ring in its place.  I realized it a few days later and asked him (furiously, but let’s not get into that) where the ring was.  He told me he had pawned it.  I left our wedding rings where they were, on my dresser.

Fast forward to last night.  Caroline was with my parents, because daycare was closed this week and my mom has been doing a ton of driving every day to watch her for me, so I told her she could take her for an overnight.  I was cleaning, because I’m a loser and that’s what I do with my toddler-free time, and saw the rings on my dresser.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them.  I didn’t want them in the house, but throwing them in the trash seemed wrong somehow, and pawning them seemed hardly worth the effort for whatever I’d get for two thin white gold bands.

Finally I decided to take them down the street to the river that runs by our old apartment, which is where we were living when we got engaged.  I put them in my pocket and jogged down there.  I flipped through my iPod for something appropriate, couldn’t find anything, and settled for Fergie.

Fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending, do they?/ And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay…

I got down there and walked out to the middle of the bridge.  I took out the rings.  Before our wedding, I had had Tyler’s ring engraved on the inside with the inscription “We Are Ours Now”.  I looked at it in my hand.  Wrong, I thought.  I am mine now.

I threw them in the river.  And I don’t mind telling you that this big girl did not cry.

Then I jogged home.  And I didn’t feel any sadness for what we lost, any anger for things he’s done to me, any guilt for things I’ve done to him, any regret for what might have been.  I didn’t have that numbness I felt for the months immediately after I filed, or the wrenching grief I felt for the months after our divorce was finalized.  I didn’t even simply feel content– I felt happy.  I felt lighter.  I felt hopeful and excited for my future, and whatever is in store for myself and for Caroline.

So this is what it feels like, I thought.  This is how it feels to be truly over it.  I like it.

I like it a lot.

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  1. by Carmen

    On July 8, 2011 at 9:58 am

    You would really like the song “You Lie” it’s by The Band Perry … Your experience is the lyrics to this song (mostly) Love Your Blog :)

    Well, I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do
    I’m gonna drive into the big ol’ muddy river
    I’m gonna park my car in the middle of the mile-long bridge
    And then I’m gonna cry well maybe just a little
    Then I’m gonna slip off the ring that you put on my finger
    Give it a big ol’ fling and watch it sink
    Down, down, down
    There it’s gonna lie
    Until the Lord comes back around

  2. by Emily H.

    On July 8, 2011 at 10:58 am


    There’s a song out right now called “You Lie” by The Band Perry. One of the last verses in the song is:
    “I’m gonna drive into the big ol’ muddy river
    I’m gonna park my car in the middle of the mile-long bridge
    Then I’m gonna slip off the ring that you put on my finger
    Give it a big ol’ fling and watch it sink
    Down, down, down
    There it’s gonna lie”


  3. by Julia

    On July 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Haha I actually do know that song but I didn’t think about that part until it came on as I was jogging back up the hill! Hilarious.

  4. by nicole Dorsey

    On July 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    LOVE LOVE the post! Happy and lighter cannot be beat!

  5. by MJ

    On July 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Good for you! You go girl!

  6. by Emily H.

    On July 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Woah! Double-lyric post by two different people! It’s a sign. ;)

  7. by Val Garner

    On July 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Very glad for you. This is actually quite a thought provoking topic.

    I recently went through the dilemma myself, it’s probably a very individualized choice. I couldn’t do the river thing…just me. I didn’t want to pawn it, flush it, pass it on to my children, etc. What I settled on was taking it to a jewelry store, trading the gold in and used that to fix my mother’s ring that had a missing stone out of it. I felt really happy about that and light as well, when I went back and they gave me my beautiful mother’s ring that I hadn’t been able to wear in years.

  8. by MJS

    On July 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Julia, Love the new site. And I love this post. Interesting how the loss of a relationship, even if for the very best, has its cycles of emotions. What happy relief to get to a point of feeling…happy. How awesome! Best best best as you continue forward. Cheering you (and Caroline) on from CA! MJS

  9. by Brenna

    On July 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Great post, J. I can’t wait to get to the place you are in. It must feel so empowering to be free of all that weight! xoxo

  10. by E

    On July 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I’m a new reader and I just want to say that I am really enjoying your posts. I saw your blog featured in Parents magazine. I find it really inspirational that you have survived dental school, being a young mom, and a divorce all at once.

    Funny, I was just thinking about my rings today. Husband and I had bought my wedding ring, a plain solid gold band. (My husband used his dad’s old ring.) So I have my band and my (technically non) engagement ring, which is too pretty for me to toss. I don’t feel any personal sentimental attachment to it, but I feel I should hold onto it for my girls to have and appreciate when they are older. Maybe this ring doesn’t pain me, since our brief courtship was lovely– it was the marriage that was a nightmare.

    As for the wedding band? I’ve been considering dropping it off at a Cash-for-gold center with a couple other mismatched pieces. For a single mom who receives no C/S, a few dollars is a few dollars. Yes I will gladly trade this small bit of gold in for Lunch or a pack of diapers and not look back.