The loss of your spouse, the person with whom you chose to spend the rest of your life, is possibly one of the most daunting experiences. A challenging decision that arises soon after your spouse’s funeral has passed and life has settled down to some form of semi-normality, is what to do with your wedding ring.

Do you leave it on your finger or do you remove it? If you take it off – what do you do with it? If you leave it on – should you move it to the other hand? This takes a lot of thought and ultimately only you can decide on its destiny.

Your wedding ring is a symbol of your love and of the day that you dedicated yourself to your spouse. As such, it symbolises your togetherness and is a profound item of significance.

Weigh Up Your Options

Your decision about what to do with your wedding ring is one that should not be rushed. You need to carefully balance your volatile emotions with your options to avoid regrets in the future. If you speak to any person who has lost their spouse, it will soon become clear that there is no right or wrong choice regarding what to do with your ring. Some people choose to continue to wear it for the rest of their lives, while others remove it almost immediately after the death of their spouse.

No Right Or Wrong Decision

Sonja Smith, MD of Sonja Smith Funerals, an elite funeral group since 2006, says, “Many spouses ask me about the etiquette of removing a wedding ring after the death of their partner. I advise them that they need to do whatever they feel is right for them because every person is different. There is no right or wrong decision in this matter.

Some Ideas of What to do With Your Wedding Ring When Your Spouse Dies

  • Continue wearing the ring. Many widows/widowers continue to wear their wedding ring until they feel ready to take it off. Some will continue to wear it forever. Wearing the ring enables the widow/widower to retain a sense of closeness to their departed spouse. It may also act as a deterrent to unwelcome romantic advances, until the wearer is ready.
  • Move your wedding ring to your other hand. Sometimes, people who have been widowed take what they see as a small step towards letting go and move the ring from their one hand to the other. They feel that they can continue to hold onto their spouse whom they deeply loved, but at the same time indicate that their circumstances have changed, without having to say a word.
  • Repurpose the ring into other pieces of jewellery. Redesigning your ring can signal an acknowledgement of your new future, while avoiding losing touch with your precious ring. You can also choose to add a memorial diamond which can be crafted from your spouse’s ashes.
  • Attach it to a chain and wear it around your neck. This is common practice with widows, more so than with widowers. It is a good remembrance option since you can keep the ring close to your heart while indicating your marital status.
  • Keep it as an heirloom to pass onto your children when they marry. Your ring may have initially been an heirloom, or you may want to turn it into a future heirloom. Either way, you need to specify this in your Will to ensure that it goes to the correct person after your passing. While you are alive, you may want to pass it onto your child for their wedding.
  • Put it away in the safe. If you do not feel comfortable wearing your ring anymore and have no idea what to do with it, put it in a safe until you settle the matter in your mind.
  • Donate it. Many non-profit organisations accept and resell jewellery to fund their operations. If you are open to a good cause, then this may be an option. However, you would need to be comfortable with not knowing where the ring ends up. This may be very difficult for some people.
  • Send it off ceremoniously. You may like to use your ring in a ceremonial farewell where you cast it into the ocean or bury it in a particular place as a final farewell. Include close friends or family to make this a special occasion.

When You Should Remove Your Wedding Ring After The Death Of Your Spouse

There are very few cases in which you should stop wearing your ring after your spouse’s death. These are two of them.

  • The first is if your wedding ring causes you intense emotional pain, then it would probably be better to remove it and store it somewhere safe until you feel able to face it again.
  • The second is in the event of remarriage at a later stage. Continuing to wear the ring may cause your second spouse some unnecessary discomfort, even if they don’t say it, in which case it would be better not to wear it at all.

Ultimately, the choice of wearing your ring or not is entirely up to you. Only you can gauge your thoughts and emotions at the time. What you do with your ring may also depend on your religion or a traditional custom. There is no rush to make a decision either way; you may know from the outset what you want to do, or it may take many years to decide. It is impossible to make the wrong decision.

Sonja Smith Funeral Group offers a comprehensive range of services in the event of your loved one passing. We will not only assist with the funeral or cremation arrangements, but also with bringing the deceased into our care, assisting with financial matters, offer funeral cover and professional advice. Contact your nearest Sonja Smith office for advice.