I thought I'd lost my wedding ring for good earlier this week. I pulled off my gloves in the produce department of the grocery and realized my ring finger was bare.
I quickly checked the glove, praying it had slid off in the glove finger. Empty. I had not felt it fall off, but I looked about around the onion display. I checked the pockets of my jeans, hoping for a miracle.
My heart sank. I had been in another grocery story just prior to this one, gloveless in that store. Had my ring come off when I picking out an avocado? Had it slipped into the sack when I was bagging my groceries? Or, horrors, had it somehow fallen off when I was was walking across the frozen, iced parking lot?
I was heartsick. And because I had come from chemo and needed to get home, I told myself to go home, unpack the groceries, then call the store to see if anyone had turned in my ring.
As I drove home, this loop kept playing in my head: you knew your ring was loose, you should get a ring guard, maybe it's in with the groceries, you knew your ring was loose...
Once home, I carried in the groceries in stages, the last stage being getting my briefcase and shoe bag out of the passenger side footwell. And there, underneath my briefcase and on top of the windshield cover, was my ring.
Just waiting for me. All but asking "What took you so long?"
This is the second time my ring has left me. The first time was earlier this summer, when it slipped off my finger into the grass as I hung laundry on the line. That time it was gone for some 45 minutes and only a slow retracing of my day brought it back to me.
And even before that, there was the time my ring took a running dive into the lint trap of the dryer and Warren had to rescue it.
It's tricksy, this ring.
Perhaps because I just finished rereading The Lord of the Rings, I am imbuing my ring with the power to make its own choices. The Ring (THE Ring) in the book had a mind of its own and chose when and how to leave its current ring bearer and pick a new one. Perhaps my ring got the idea from Tolkein.
The real reason for my ring's disappearing act is loss of muscle mass in my hands, courtesy of cancer. My body continues to change as the disease progresses. As Atul Gawande so brilliantly summed it up, even when I am doing relatively well, the night brigade is always out on the perimeter taking down the defenses.
Warren and I have not talked about what I want done with my wedding ring when I die. I don't know myself. Our rings were custom made and have elements meaningful to us and our story. Do I pass my ring on to my granddaughter? Do I leave it to Warren? Do I have it buried with my ashes? Or ask my sons to fling in into the Pacific Ocean so the sea can take it?
I don't know. I don't have to know right now. For now, the ring is back where it belongs, on my finger. I am hoping it chooses to stay there for awhile. Maybe it has had enough adventure and will behave. Or maybe it is already planning its next escape.
It's tricksy, this ring.