Voices of Experience: Unending Circle

Photo by Amy Willard

The symbolism of the ring is not, ultimately, about your own efforts or decisions or commitments, it’s a reminder of the promise that another has made to you, and of the promise that God has made to you both.  ~ Fr. Stephen Wang

Daniel put this ring on my finger 14 years ago today. The one beside it, I placed on his.

On this day, sitting here without him, I tell myself that it's important - vital - that I focus on the day I gave him this ring and shove back the thoughts of the day I took it back off his finger before they took his body away from me.

We chose the claddagh design on our rings to represent our love. Each ring has two hands clasping a heart and a crown. The hands symbolize friendship- we married our best friend after all. The heart and crown stand for love and loyalty. All of this rests on the unending circle of a ring. I wear the rings on my left hand with the heart and crown pointing towards my own beating heart. That is where Daniel lives now.

These rings have seen a lot of amazing things as we built our love story moment by moment. They've been through thousands of comforting embraces, passionate caresses, frustrated gestures, tickle fights, hard work, and more than a few long nights of holding video game controllers or books. All the while, they were together. When we faced a difficult situation, one of us would click our ring against the other's like a superhero team power-up and say, "we've got this."

I wear both rings now, together still. I am the keeper of our love and the guardian of the memories from our love story. Like the circle of our rings have no ending, so too our love.

So today, like many days since Daniel left, I float between feeling like the luckiest woman to ever walk this planet and the saddest. I am so thankful that he put this ring on my finger. This unending circle reminds me every day how much he loved me. His absence is almost unbearable. I just have to keep in mind that even though he is gone from me for now, our love lives on. I must find the strength to live on in a way that honors that.

Someone recently shared this quote with me:
Two things can be true simultaneously: You can be heartbroken and bereft, and you can be filled with gratitude for the amazing love that was in your life (and still is in your life, actually). Sorrow and joy exist side by side. Both are true and both are real. Wisdom is making space to hold two opposing truths at the same time.
It seems like I'm now in the unending circle of seeking this wisdom.

I love you Daniel. Thank you for choosing me as your bride.

© 2016 by Amy Willard

About the Author: "Daniel Eric Willard came into my life on June 6, 2001 and made every following day amazing. I was so lucky to have 13 1/2 wonderful years with him before I had to say goodbye to my best friend on January 13, 2015. Our life was like a finely choreographed dance. We were so in sync that we could predict what the other was thinking and finished each other's sentences. I knew so well how to be Daniel's girl. I'm still learning how to be Daniel's widow." ~ Read more about Amy's "Life Without Daniel" on her blog, DEW's Girl.

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