Blended Hope

On the ring finger of my left hand I wear the wedding ring that Lisa gave to me when we got married 3 years ago.  I wear another ring on the pinky finger of my right hand.

When Amy died, I felt a huge emptiness like there was a hole in my chest that couldn’t be filled.  I was lonely and I just wanted that to go away.  I would hear the Michael Buble’ song “Home” playing on the radio.  Toward the end of the song the lyrics say, “And I’m surrounded by, a million people I, still feel alone.”  That is exactly how I felt.

I was busy taking care of patient’s, constantly surrounded by people, friends at church would ask how I was doing as a widower with 5 kids, but I still felt alone.  I was missing the connection and support of a spouse that’s got your back, but I didn’t know how much I relied upon it and missed it until it was gone.

I’ve never been divorced so I didn’t have emotional baggage of a bitter marriage to sway me from seeking out a new relationship.  I also think I’m pretty rational and logical and I knew my children really needed a mother.  At the time of Amy’s death, my children’s ages were 12, 10, 6, 3, and little Quinton was just 16 months old.  My heart hurt for myself but especially for my children.  I wanted to fix this problem so I naively started dating.  What I thought would be easy was actually terrifying and very difficult at age 40.  But to be fair to the women I was dating, I took off my wedding ring.

Some time after I hit the one year mark of Amy’s death, I came across a small inexpensive silver ring in her jewelry box that I had given her soon after we we married in 1996.  She use to wear it as her “gym” ring when she would work in the yard, do dishes, or anything where she didn’t want to lose or damage her diamond wedding ring.  I tried this ring on and it didn’t fit my ring finger but it fit my pinky fingers perfectly.

Wearing that ring has helped me to know that although I am pressing forward in this life to do what I think is best, I’m not leaving Amy behind or forgetting about her.  So now, on my left ring finger sits the wedding ring that Lisa gave me to signify my commitment to Lisa and on my right pinky finger sits the simple silver band to remember my wife Amy.

No one ever asks why I wear it.  Lisa knows why I wear it and she’s OK with it and she’s not jealous.

It may seem strange in our monogomous society how I can deeply love two women.  It has almost been 5 years and there is still a hole in my heart, but Lisa has helped it to heal.  It has taken a little while but I now feel that support and connection that I once longed for.  Lisa has helped to bring my passion for life back which for a time after Amy’s death use to be more of a forced flicker.  I’m grateful for the two women in my life and for the rings I get to wear to remember them both.

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6 Replies to “My Two Rings”

  1. Thank you for this! I also wear two rings. My husband passed away two years ago and I still wear the ring he gave me for our 30th anniversary on my right hand. I remarried 8 months ago and wear the ring my current husband gave me. It really is strange how you can love two spouses at the time and a lot of people don’t get it, but it somehow works and it’s a beautiful thing. My current husband is also a widower and we have this great, loving relationship because we both “get it”. I feel so blessed to have him in my life and I miss my late husband, all at the same time. Good luck to you and Lisa!

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  2. Thanx for sharing this Matt. I’m the guy who went through the divorce and feel the baggage that makes it hard to want to get into another relationship. I’m frankly afraid to go through so much pain again, and I don’t think I believe that being in a relationship with anyone is worth the chance. I guess my experience is such that I don’t see the upside. I too have a “hole” but I have filled it with my kids and personal goals. I’m afraid to move them aside enough to make room for anyone else. I’m afraid to be hurt again. I feel like at some point I “have to” find someone, but marriage has left such a sour taste in my mouth that I don’t really want to. I listen to friends, church leaders, and you talk about how happy you are in your relationships and I think at some levels I don’t believe it, how can any 2 people be that happy together, it never happened for me. Then I’m the next breath, I also think “well, I do believe them, they really do have it that great because they happened to find just the right person to marry and it happened to work”. BUT the chances of that happening for me are slim so I just am afraid to take a chance.

    I like to watch some chic flicks, I guess I’m a bit crazy, but there are a few that I really love to watch, the Young Victoria because the culminating message of that movie is the love between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, when Albert takes a bullet for Victoria. I think to myself “I would have been willing to do that for my ex-wife! Why could I not have lived for her… The Vow because the main character was willing to let his wife go because he loved her so much, then eventually love brought them back together. About Time because the men in the family have the opportunity to go back in time and have “do overs” and I wish I could go back and change things now that I have hindsight and see where I could have done better as a husband.

    I guess I’m just afraid and still hurt and so busy with my new life that I have all but filled the hole in so I’m not sure that I need to find someone to fill it. Or maybe I’m too afraid to open it again to fill it because I’m afraid of being hurt. I’m guarded and protecting my heart, I don’t know when I can ever open it back up, but I do pray for the strength to do so someday…

    The comments that Lisa and you have shared are helpful, I’m truly happy for both of you and I hope that I can find someone someday to help me find th passion for life you mentioned. I know all to well what it means to have it be reduced to a “forced flicker”. It’s brighter now, but I think that it’s not as bright as it could be and perhaps never can be without someone else to share it with…

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    1. Jeff, I have been where you are. Exactly where you are. My first husband and I married, and then divorced. I tried everything to make it work but we struggled, mainly with his addictions. Two years went by and we remarried. We tried it again! Still, same battles, same fights, same circle of dysfunction. We were fiercely in love but he just could not overcome his battles which created a contentious, unpleasant home most of the time. I figured this is what most couples deal with and that marriage, even without addictions, was just super stressful and hard.
      After his death, I knew what I would and WOULD NOT tolerate in a new relationship and anticipated hardship no matter what. I even told Matt (over and over again) how skeptical I was of him and how I was just WAITING for his secret, horrible side to surface because that is what I was used to. My 20 years of marriage experience had me convinced it was an experience that was full of unhealthy surprises, constant battles, mixed with some love and a few good times.
      Every relationship has kinks but mental imbalances or addictions is just something, for me, too difficult to manage and be happy on a daily basis.
      I knew on day four (our first time meeting!) with Matt when we were at Disneyland with six children, and hundreds of people, that he was the one. If we could manage to be in one of the most stressful places, with a bunch of kids (a couple that were sick), strollers, tired, hungry, and we were all still able to get along and have fun and not kill each other that this was a relationship I could handle and would be beneficial for my children too.
      I would watch tv and see couples talk about pure happiness in their marriage and I would roll my eyes and say “yeah right I want to see what really happens in their home”. I had no idea it was really possible to be happy on a daily, continuous basis.

      I am telling you, IT IS POSSIBLE.
      Keep your faith because I am telling you, it can happen.
      Remarriage is wonderful and an opportunity for a positive change.
      I am a different wife this time around, lucky for Matt. I have even mentioned to Matt that I have some apologies to make to Cameron someday because I’ve learned how to love differently and be a better mother and spouse.
      Your day will come!

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  3. What a lovely post. Great to meet you and what a journey you’ve gone through. Hubby and I were both married before and to the wrong people. We all have our crosses to bear where that is concerned. We are now both married to the right person. It’s a wonderful thing.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m glad you’re living life to its fullest again.

    Have a fabulous day. 🙂

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