I sold my engagement ring for $28, and then my ex-husband died

Tracey Folly

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

I've been married and divorced, but I've never been engaged or widowed. When I decided my boyfriend and I should get married in our late teens, he went along with it. We both wanted to move out on our own, and financially, that meant moving out on our own together.

Since our families were old-fashioned, I thought living together without the "benefit" of marriage was out of the question. So we planned a haphazard wedding in less than a month, without actually being engaged.

We agreed to get married, and it was more of a business deal than a romance. I wanted a place of my own; he needed a place of his own. "Let's do this," I said. It was one of the worst decisions of my life.

My best friend was a newlywed, and she was happy. So I figured marriage couldn't be all bad. I was wrong.

He and I drove to a jewelry store. We bought the ugliest ring they sold. I had only one requirement; I wanted the ring to contain any amount of diamonds. That amount turned out to be a diamond chip. It was all we could afford.

We walked out of the store with the ugly ring and its equally ugly diamond chip in a small plastic bag, and I stood awkwardly by the side of the car while he slipped it on my finger, per my request. There were no feelings of joy or excitement involved, just two kids and a cheap diamond accent ring.

He didn't get on one knee. He didn't ask me to marry him. He didn't propose. He didn't even speak.

I didn't consider the purchase of the ring a proposal, and I didn't consider our relationship once that hundred-dollar ring was on my finger an engagement. Nothing really changed except we were about to get married, and no one in our respective families had the good sense to stop us.

He was my boyfriend, and one month later, he was my husband. A few years later, he was my ex-husband. Then he was dead. That's why I mention never being widowed. I came close.

My next relationship was with a man who urged me to sell my original engagement ring for whatever I could get. I sold it at an antique and consignment shop for $28, a little more than a quarter of the original price.

I sold that engagement ring for $28, just before my ex-husband died. When I learned he was dead, I felt shocked. I felt little else. We had already been divorced long enough that he wasn't part of my life or my thoughts anymore.

No, I don't think there's any connection between the sale of the ring and his death. It's just an unfortunate coincidence. If I had known he was going to die, I would have kept the ring. I think I would have given it to one of his family members. I think it would have been worth more than $28 to someone who loved him.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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