And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

Next month, I’m going to be 63 years old, but I haven’t even adjusted to 62 yet. For some reason, this age has shaken me down to my toes. I think it might be because I grew up during the time that 62 was the age you retired. So I grew up acclimated to the idea that 62 was old.

It seems to me that the hardest part of getting older, at least so far, is my memory slipping. I’ve always had an extraordinarily good memory. Students have commented on how I can remember all of the details of the many manuscripts I read each and every week. This isn’t a small feat. I currently have 30 coaching clients, all of whom can hand in up to 20 pages per week. I also teach 5 classes, with students handing in multiple manuscripts. And even now, at almost 63, I keep them all straight and can remember where they left off the week before.

But going into a room and forgetting why I’m there? Every day. Forgetting appointments (why do I have that doctor’s appointment next week?), forgetting that I already said something (my son told me I asked him the same question 3 times), going to write a critique, getting as far as, “Hey…” and realizing that while I know what I just read and what I want to say about it, I’ve forgotten who wrote it. This really bothers me.

And then there’s my wedding ring.

About a year ago, I received a ring commemorating my battle with breast cancer. It was very attractive, a lovely and solid silver, with small pink ribbons on it, and the words Hope, Faith, Courage, and Strength engraved on it. The only finger it fit on was my wedding ring finger, and the ring was too large to fit along with that wedding ring. So, for what I figured would be a short time, I took off my wedding ring and wore the silver band instead. I put my wedding ring on top of my dresser. I know at one point, I was worried that my daughter, who I hired for the summer to clean the condo, would dust without really looking and knock the ring off and it would be lost. So I put it somewhere for safekeeping.

Note the “somewhere”.

Around our wedding anniversary on October 9, I decided it was time to start wearing my wedding ring again. And it was right then I realized that I didn’t remember where I put it.

The obvious place was inside the dresser, and this particular dresser comes with three drawers, each of which contain jewelry organizers, including those special velvety slots for rings. I ended up cleaning out all three drawers, but there was no wedding ring.

Next, I checked my jewelry cabinet. Yes, I have a jewelry cabinet. But the ring wasn’t there.

I have a small jewelry box that I use for jewelry that I don’t wear, but want to keep. My engagement ring is in there, and so is my wedding ring from my first marriage. But not only did I not find my wedding ring there, I couldn’t even find that particular jewelry box. That’s missing as well. I know I moved it somewhere when we rearranged the furniture in the bedroom, but I just don’t remember where that somewhere is.

So I basically, for the last seven months, slowly tore my home apart, looking for my ring (and this blasted jewelry box). Nowhere.

Now that it’s a year since I took the wedding ring off, I told myself I had to just start accepting that it was gone. I tucked it away in such a safe place, it would never be found again. It made me inordinately sad. And it became, in my mind, a symbol of proof that I’m getting older and older. I couldn’t find a ring that I’d put in a safe place so it wouldn’t be lost, and it was a ring I wore for almost 23 years. Our 24th wedding anniversary will be this October.

Just this last week, I began to wonder if I could go back to the store where we bought the rings to see if a new ring could be made, based on the design of my husband’s ring. It wouldn’t be the same, but it would be something. I wanted to put the breast cancer ring away. I no longer have cancer. But I am still married.

Then, this past Monday, I was putting away my laundry. I opened the sliding doors on that very same dresser, and as I tucked away my swimming suit, I saw the box that the watch I gave myself a few Christmases ago arrived in. It’s a large, nice box, and I saved it to store the watch when I’m not wearing it.

But I knew that the watch wasn’t in it, and I wasn’t wearing it. It was safely in my jewelry cabinet. So why did I continue keeping the box?

When I picked it up, it rattled. It rattled!

Opening it up, I lifted the fluffy pillow tucked inside. And beneath that…my wedding ring. Tucked safely in my dresser, so it wouldn’t be lost, just as I’d planned.

I’ve never been happier to see a piece of jewelry!

It’s back on my finger. My breast cancer ring is in the box, and back in my dresser.

Now if I could just find the missing jewelry box…

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

Our wedding rings. Back together again.
One of our wedding photos.

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