Over the weekend I lost my wedding ring on a kayaking trip off Bowen Island near Vancouver. I took it off to apply sunscreen, ironically worried that getting cream on it might make it fall off my finger. I carefully put it on the kayak and promptly got distracted in the pre-launch packing up rush. I noticed 20mins into a windy and wavy 45min channel crossing that the ring was gone and burst into tears. Hard tears. Painful tears. Lonely tears.
We designed our wedding rings and Liane’s engagement ring together with the help of a very close friend, Kate. They are simple and beautiful, the process another part of our wedding and marriage that meant a great deal to us both. I loved my ring - a palladium band - and all its character. Recently it had taken a few scrapes and dents as I rarely took it off and these little signs of wear and tear made me smile when I played with it’s uneven surface. I found solace in touching it, drawing strength and love from an immediately tangible source. I cherished the ring for so long, arguably my most valued possession and losing it hurt me deeply.
I’m angry at myself for bringing the ring kayaking. I thought about leaving it behind with my wallet and my bag but wanted it with me. I’m angry at myself for the stupid manner in which I lost it - I managed to hold onto my phone and my watch and they mean so much less. I’m disappointed I didn’t have a say in the where and the how of not having my ring any more. I’ve thought about throwing it into the sea, quite often in fact, seeing it as sacrificing something for Liane, maybe at a place she loved. I wanted to frame it with her rings, but not until I was ready. When it felt right.
On the other hand there’s something poetic and touching about losing it in the sea on a kayaking trip. She’d shake her head and laugh disapprovingly, reassuring me that we could replace it. Consoling me with a hug, a gentle touch, a sparkle in her eyes and maybe a reminder about not getting too attached to things... And at the end of the day the ring in itself was just that - an object. What it represented is a powerful and central part of who I am, what I had and who I want to be. The small strip of metal was a visible and cherished reminder but I have other items, photos, stories and memories that mean a lot too. Maybe there’s a certain symbolism in losing it in nature after seeing a small robin on a rock nearby. Or maybe it means nothing at all.
I miss having the ring on my finger. There’s an empty space there and my fingers go looking for it often. The hurt is still raw but much like many other pains I’ll get through it and might even grow from it. As usual, time willbear witness to that.
(Aside - we went back and scoured the area I dropped it on. The tide had come and gone 6/7 times so the ring is likely buried. A kind neighbour of the beach called Jamie is going to come back with a metal detector during the week. The story might have a happy ending yet...)