Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Ring Cycle.

I was intending to start a new blog, and I thought it might be called 'Old Hand'.
Then I decided to resurrect 'Relatively Retiring' which hit the buffers nearly a year ago because of repeated attacks by gremlins, trolls, whatever the term is for people who may or may not have known me, but who decided to be malicious in any event.

This was a technically interesting time, because I have experience of writing professionally and am used to criticism. But in the past there was always an editor between me and my readers, and the recent attacks felt much more personal.

So here is the old hand anyway.

It has done a lot of things, as well as writing. It has comforted and controlled, cooked and cleaned, gardened and painted, lifted, carried, held and been held. It is looking the worse for wear, and the other one on the other side is, too. In fact the other one looks worse because it's scarred and arthritic.

It used to have rings, this old hand. It had an engagement ring with opals, which are said to be unlucky and sometimes were. But at other times they seemed quite lucky, so it all balanced out in the end. It had a wedding ring, which had to be cut off when the finger suddenly went blue.
Well, it was that or the finger.
The ring was enlarged, and then became too big so that it was lost - forever I thought. Then it turned up in the bottom of a handbag, along with the till receipts and the crumpled tissues.

I removed my rings during the time that I was nursing my husband at home. My hands were so frequently coated with antiseptic gel that I feared for the opals. I put the rings somewhere very safe, so safe that I didn't find them until several months after my husband's death.

It felt wrong to put them on again.
I was no longer married.
Perhaps a wedding ring should be called a marriage ring?

I haven't worn the rings again again since I found them, but this has caused a few comments among people of my generation (I'm 70).
For example, "I didn't ask about family, because I can see you're not married."
"I didn't realise you're a widow. You're not wearing a wedding ring."

Is there a protocol about removing rings when the marriage ends, by death or divorce?
What message does such a ring convey these days?

Is life easier for younger people who have deeply committed relationships without the branding of rings and ceremonies? Or is it harder?

So I trundle along, pondering the great mysteries of commitment and life and death, wondering if I've locked the back door, writing post-it notes for myself, missing those I love and see no old, unadorned hand at most aspects of life by now.


Anonymous said...

Really delighted to see you back again, and hope all's well with you.

Know what you mean re rings, but that's for another day.

Welcome back - I've missed you!


Relatively Retiring said...

Hello Jan, how very kind of you, and how lovely to be welcomed back.
I decided not to let the gremlins win and so sent this out into cyberspace to see if anyone was there.
Great to meet you again!

pohanginapete said...

Great to see you back :^) I look forward to reading more of your wonderful writing.

As for the rings, I don't have a strong opinion — none, actually. I guess it's the relationship that matters, and how others interpret the presence or absence of rings depends on their preconceptions?

Relatively Retiring said...

Hello P.Pete! I'm delighted to see there's still a cyber connection. Thank you for commenting.
The Ring Thing seems to indicate a generational issue, which your comment reinforces. Engagement and wedding rings were great indicators of status in my youth (esp. the engagement ring). Now they seems to have really diminished significance. But I guess men were never particulary bothered anyway - apart from having to pay for them (and possibly certain sexual privileges associated!).

den said...

Wishing you springy step trundling and many happy ponderings.

Relatively Retiring said...

Hello Den. Thank you so much for the contact and the comment. I've been greatly enjoying your musings. Next time you're going to the tea-shoppe-with-bells send me an e-mail and I'll buy you a crumpet!

leslee said...

Welcome back, RR! Just delete the trolls, it's your home and you're free to do what you want. Looking forward to checking in here again!

herhimnbryn said...

Hallo again!
You see we are so pleased to see you back

I am 50 now and married when I was 36. I do not always wear my wedding ring..sometimes I just forget to put it on.

Relatively Retiring said...

Hello Leslee and HHnB, thank you so much for still being there and commenting again.
Unfortunately the trolls used email as well, and I became weary of it all - while also refusing to change my email!

Zhoen said...

Oh, how wonderful! I saw your comment on Ruins, and had to follow you home. So glad I haven't been missing your emergence for long. Welcome, welcome, welcome.

My spouse was never one for rings, and has never worn one. I wear mine intermittently because of work, and because I lost the original (at work.) I think the protocol is changing. A simple - "I don't (can't) wear rings" should suffice.

Relatively Retiring said...

Hello Zhoen, thank you so much for the welcome and the comment. I've been reading and enjoying all along, but blogging hits a spot that other writings fail to reach - so it's lovely to be welcomed back!