I sold my husband's wedding ring for scrap, and then he died

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

My husband didn't wear his wedding band.

I placed that ring on his finger when we said our wedding vows, and he kept the ring on for the duration of the reception. It remained on his finger throughout the wedding night and on our honeymoon.

Once we arrived home from our honeymoon, he placed the ring in a wooden jewelry box, which sat atop the bedroom bureau. It remained there until the day I moved out of the home we shared five years later.

When I left him, I took his wedding ring with me.

I didn't feel guilty about taking his wedding ring for a couple of reasons. First, he hadn't worn it over six days in the last five years. Second, I paid for it.

That's right. I am the one who paid for my husband's wedding ring, so I felt I was well within my rights to take it when I left him. I knew for a fact he didn't have any emotional attachment to the ring. With no financial investment and no emotional attachment to it, he didn't deserve to keep it, anyway.

When I moved back in with my parents following our divorce, I placed my husband's wedding ring inside a small soapstone box that sat in the top drawer of the same dresser I'd used in my childhood bedroom. We had bought that soapstone box at the local shopping mall while we were dating. It was on clearance because it had a large chip on one side of the cover.

The ring sat in that soapstone box for years. It wasn't alone. My own diamond ring and wedding band were in the box with it.

Then one day, I exchanged all my unworn jewelry for cash using one of those cash-for-gold envelopes that you ship in the mail. I stuffed broken silver necklaces, bent rings, and mismatched earrings into the envelope, added my husband's wedding band, and tossed it in the outgoing mail.

Several long weeks later, I received my check. For a large envelope of jewelry, the cash-for-gold folks had sent me a whopping five bucks. I felt horrified; I wanted my jewelry back, all of it not just my husband's useless gold ring.

Unfortunately, the fee to have my jewelry returned before they melted it into scrap was more than I could afford. It was certainly more than the measly five bucks they had sent me for my treasures. I let it go.

I let it all go.

Two months later, I learned my husband had died in a motor vehicle accident. It was too late to get his ring back at any price.

I felt guilty about it; I still do.

I don't know what I would do with the ring if I hadn't sold it for a fraction of the five dollars I received for the entire envelope. Maybe I would have worn it on my middle finger where it was a perfect fit. Perhaps I could have given it to one of his family members. I could even have left it inside that small soapstone box with the chipped cover.

Anything would have been better than selling it for scrap.

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