Sunday, June 6, 2010


I lost a ring while body surfing in the Atlantic Ocean. My grandfather made mostly turquoise jewelry, but for this ring he used turquoise blue malachite. He scratched two names into the silver back: mine, and J's. Beyond its small monetary worth, I valued the ring. It reminded me of my grandfather; it represented family love. I also thought it looked pretty on my hand. How long did I wear that ring? My ring finger feels more vulnerable now than it did when I removed my wedding ring.

I lost a ring, not a friend, or job. The Five Stages of Loss are present, but in an observable, relatively lighthearted form. Denying reality for a moment I considered combing the beach for the small band of silver. I was angry at myself for wearing the ring into the ocean, but my blood pressure didn't accelerate. I also experienced low intensity bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

I'm sad to lose what my grandfather made for me, yet invigorated by the loss. The recklessly joyful undercurrent may make less sense than the sorrowful one, but joy is clearly in the emotional mix. Loss opens a door to new chances, shakes up everyday expectation, and creates a more dynamically charged environment. I was loyal to that ring, and wore it always. Now that it's gone I can try other things: bare fingers, perhaps snazzy, new jewelry. It's not much of a revolution, but even small possibilities can liberate.