Rick has officially been gone 6 months today. Half a year. HALF a year. It feels like yesterday I kissed him good bye and came home to a dead body in my basement. And yet at the same time, it feels like I've been through a war and spent a whole era of time all alone.
I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love - my first book since Rick's death - and it resonates with me. With all I have been through these last 6 months, I feel like I could write my own Eat, Pray, Love story.
Today, I began my day by doing something big. Well, big for me.
I took off one of my wedding rings. I took off my engagement ring I've worn for the last 7.5 years. My diamond. I nestled it inside Rick's wedding ring, which is nestled inside of Rick's watch. Which sits on a large dish on my kitchen counter.
I've written before about my dilemma with my wedding rings. How people ask me how long I've been married or because I'm young, if I just got married. It got to be a point of pain for me, because explaining or choosing not to explain or hurting either was difficult, but I wasn't ready to take off my wedding rings to make the conversations stop.
Well today, on the 6 month anniversary of Rick's death, I decided I was ready. But in baby steps. I only took off the large engagement ring. Left behind is my thin wedding band. It draws less attention, but I still feel comfortable knowing it is there. A few months ago...even one month ago...I wasn't ready to remove either of my rings.
But today, I was ready to remove one.
One at a time.
Maybe the band will stay on for another month...or two... or 6... or even another year. It is up to me, and right now one was enough.
My hand feels strange. Lighter. I find myself looking down in panic, thinking, "Oh my God, where did it go?" But then I remember. I wield my left hand in the old way - maneuvering it so the diamond doesn't get caught on sweaters as I pull my arm through the sleeve, or so I don't cut myself while washing my hands. But it's no longer there.
This morning in my kitchen as I looked at my engagement ring nestled inside Rick's wedding band on my countertop, I said out loud, "It's okay, Arielle, because if you decide you want it back, all you have to do is put it back on. You can always put it back on."
Rick flickered the light in my bedroom for me this morning before work. I had already taken off my ring. I think he was letting me know it was okay.