Though every situation is unique, losing a spouse is generally a painful experience in which grief must be processed in varying stages. Your personal belongings related to a deceased spouse can hold great sentimental value, but they may also prove painful reminders of your lost loved one. Deciding what to do with your wedding ring after your wife dies may take time and require you to form a deeper understanding of your feelings. Remember, it is a personal choice that is completely up to you -- there is no right or wrong way to proceed.
Give it Time
Losing a spouse affects your whole life and may turn your world upside down for a while. You may feel that you want to address every issue that arises immediately following the death of your wife to regain order or to keep yourself busy. While this is how some people cope with loss, remember that how you feel today may not be how you'll feel tomorrow or next month, so try not to make any important decisions right off the bat. If you have a strong desire to dispose of your wedding ring, think about giving yourself more time to reevaluate the situation. Put it away and come back to it when you've had some time to heal.
Keep it as a Reminder
Some men choose to wear their wedding bands long after their wives pass, and this is a personal choice. Some may wear their bands until after funeral proceedings and then choose to remove them shortly after. Although the reminder can be painful at first, as time goes on and you go through the grieving process, you may find peace in this small treasure. Remember that your wedding ring holds many fond memories of the time you had together. When you're at peace with her death, you may find that the ring can serve to remind you of the good times rather than of her death.
Pass it on to a Loved One
If you find that hanging onto the ring is causing you depression or stress, consider giving your wedding ring to your daughter, son or another loved one. While it may be a painful reminder for you, some people find comfort in holding onto keepsakes from the past. Chances are, the person you choose is grieving as well, and the ring will be significant to that individual. Before passing it along, make sure the future recipient wants to have it.
Bury it With Your Wife
This is a difficult decision. On one hand, you do not want to make any rash decisions regarding such a sentimental item immediately after death, but burying your ring with your wife may be the best way to handle this dilemma. If you and your wife shared a special bond, you may find that laying her to rest with your wedding ring is a good choice. Many people bury loved ones with sentimental items that may have been important to the deceased, and a husband's wedding band would certainly be an item of importance. Before deciding, remember that this will be a permanent decision -- make sure you are at peace with letting go of your wedding band beforehand.
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Jennifer Oster holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Louisiana State University and is also a certified lactation counselor. An expert in the field of infant and maternal nutrition, she began writing professionally in 2005 and has been featured in many nationally acclaimed magazines.