Boomer took tremendous pride in his wedding ring. He wore all the time. There are a lot of men who dismiss their ring; when it is mysteriously "lost" they don't seem to have the where-with-all to replace it. Boomer was the exception. It was the exception when Boomer didn't wear his wedding ring. He valued what it symbolized, liked its design and comfortable fit. He even wore it when he worked out, then bragged to me about the callus building up on his hand beneath it from lifting weights.
On November 12th, the night of our last conversation together, I stood at Boomer's bedside in the ICU at Lee Memorial Hospital. It was 11:15 pm, I was preparing to go home to try to get some sleep (we live one mile away and had been at the hospital since 5:30 pm). Boomer and I were discussing his current condition, need for rest, and the endoscopy scheduled for the morning. He was fixed on knowing exactly what time I'd be back by his side, a testament to both his fear over the severity of his condition, and our deep love for each other. As I held the bag of his clothes and shoes in my left arm, I reached over the bed railing, caressed his now silver-grey hair with my right hand at his left temple, kissed his forehead, cheek and mouth. Then I asked him if he wanted me to take his wedding ring off and bring it home with me. He adamantly shook his head saying, "No, no, no." "Okay, honey, okay," I replied while grabbing his left hand giving it an affectionate, soothing squeeze, "I'll be back in the morning. I love you Boomer." "I love you," he said back to me. They were the final words I would hear him say. By 3:30 a.m. tubes would placed down his throat to keep his airway open.
Midday on the 13th, we were forced to remove his ring, his long lean, handsome hands were rapidly swelling from the mass amounts of fluids being pumped into him. I opened the clasp to the delicate 16-inch yellow-gold Tiffany necklace I was wearing and placed Boomer's ring around my neck.
I too wear my rings most of the time. The caviat on most is the exception of when I'm either gardening or cycling. I hated the idea of getting my beautiful rings full of dirt and sand from the yard, they often inhibited the safe grip I need on the bike handlebars. As as I began to wear gloves (on the bike too) the rings made the gloves fit improperly - so I'd leave them in the pretty mexican ceramic dish on the bathroom vanity. What would happen quite often after showering and lotioning up is I'd forget to put my rings back on. Boomer noticed - - every single time. Man, would he bust my chops about it. "Did you forget something SMO?" was a popular chop-busting question.
The morning after Boomer passed, I awoke with a heavy, dull pain at the base of my neck. I was in the shower, having a hysterical grief meltdown when I called out to Dara. I described to her a antiqued silver chain in my jewelry box and asked her to get it. Once out of the shower, I stood dripping wet and took off the Tiffany necklace, put Boomer's ring on the longer, 18-inch,antiqued chain and placed it back around my neck. My pain immediately disappeared. Freaky.
I was experiencing for the 1st time what I'd heard about what happens after a loved one passes over. Boomer's soul had left his physical body and made base camp in his wedding ring nestled at my heart center. He was telling me there in shower that he was with me, but he needed more room than that dinky necklace could handle. He was a big guy after all. Big guys need space. That was just the beginning.
Boomer's ring changes temperatures like a mood ring from the 60's and 70's changes color. There are three degrees: cool, warm, hot. I have yet to determine what the temperatures mean precisely as it relates to how he's communicating with me. Because he is communicating with me you know. I believe this 100%. When I'm thinking about something, or need guidance with a situation, I grab his ring to check the temperature, twirl it around my left index finger and ask his help. I get answers.
A new habit I've formed is sliding the middle finger of my left hand through his ring. The sensation brings great comfort and serenity, reminding me of the magic of what it was like to hold his hand (read the Getting Caught and Smooch posts). One morning, I awoke with tears running down my face, my finger wearing his ring. I knew he was right there with me, in a new, very unfamiliar, yet wonderful way.
Since the shower scene there have been two other instances when I experienced this neck discomfort thing. One being today. Here's the kicker, on both occasions I forgot to put my wedding rings back on my hand post bike ride and shower. In today's case, that was noon yesterday. My left hand was naked for over 24 hours...
"Did you forget something SMO?"
Yeah, pain is gone.