When you lose your spouse, your whole world changes. You’ve lost the second half of yourself, your best friend and lover. Grief is a difficult process that everyone handles differently. Some people can’t stand to look at reminders of their deceased loved one because the pain is too much to bear. Others want to hold on to their loved one’s possessions for as long as they can to keep their memory alive.
A wedding ring signifies the love and commitment between a married couple. When your loved one passes, that bond doesn’t go away. Your wedding ring is a constant reminder of the love and life you shared with your spouse.
Why Would You Want To Wear Your Wedding Ring After the Death of a Spouse?
Your wedding ring is your most familiar accessory. It has stayed put on your finger since the day you married your spouse. It’s become so familiar that you likely have forgotten you’re wearing it. When you lose a spouse, that ring weighs heavy on your finger as a reminder of your missing loved one.
For some, continuing to wear the ring that is so closely associated with their deceased spouse is too painful. For others, keeping it on helps them to grieve. Reasons someone may want to continue wearing their wedding ring after losing their spouse are many:
A RING IS A WELCOME PRESENCE
Wearing the ring that was bought and given to you by your spouse holds a special energy. This ring was a symbol of love between you and your partner that you don’t want to ever forget.
Continuing to wear the ring may help you feel closer to them, though they are no longer with you. It’s a special object that holds meaning for both of you. You may even feel their presence while you wear the ring as if they were still with you.
IT KEEPS YOUR SPOUSE'S MEMORY ALIVE
Looking down at your wedding ring on your finger serves as a constant reminder of your deceased loved one. Your ring may spark memories that only you and your spouse shared. Those memories are special and can bring you comfort through your darkest of days.
The love and life you had together exist only in your memories now so it understandable you’d want to keep them alive. Using a wedding ring for remembrance is not uncommon.
Many people choose to hold onto their wedding rings after the death of a spouse to keep their memories close. If wearing your wedding ring helps you remember your spouse better, then wear your wedding ring.
YOU FEEL SAFE WITH IT ON
You may not know who you are without your spouse. Your lives are so intertwined that doing something, anything alone is scary. That ring was the promise you and your spouse made to each other to always have one another’s back.
You felt safe with your partner and now that they are gone, you may be feeling uncertain of what to do next. Like a security blanket, your wedding ring can be a familiar sense of security for when you are feeling scared or lonely.
If it brings you comfort, then there is no harm in wearing your wedding ring for as long as it makes you feel safe. The transition to living without your partner will take time to get used to. You should do whatever you need to do to make the process less scary.
YOU FEEL GUILTY TAKING IT OFF
It’s not uncommon for the surviving spouse to feel guilty for taking off their wedding ring after their partner passes. Taking off the ring may feel like a betrayal to the relationship you and your spouse shared. You might think it signals to other people that you have forgotten about your partner or that you didn’t love them.
But choosing to take your ring off does not necessarily mean any of these things. Why you choose to take your ring off is your business, no one else’s. If you’re feeling guilt taking off your ring but wearing your ring is causing your heartache, consider what your spouse would want.
Your spouse would not want you to be in pain any more than you have to be. Most likely your spouse would tell you to forget about the ring and enjoy your life. Removing a ring from your finger does not remove the feelings you feel for your loved one.
YOU DON'T WANT TO SIGNAL YOU ARE SINGLE
You’ll need time to grieve after your spouse passes before you can even consider dating or remarrying. Taking off your wedding ring might feel like a declaration of being single that you are not ready to convey. You can’t imagine being with another romantic partner and you certainly don’t want to encourage any would-be suitors.
Continuing to wear your wedding band serves as a reminder to you and everyone else that your heart is still taken. Though there may come a time when you want to date or remarry, take as long as you need to before that happens.
Don’t let others pressure you into putting yourself out there before you are up to it. The grieving process lasts longer for some than others. Some people decide to never date again after their spouse passes away, that’s okay too. Wearing your wedding ring will remind you and others that your heart is with your spouse.
When Should You Remove Your Wedding Ring After The Death Of A Spouse?
There is no right or wrong time frame for when you decide to remove your wedding band after the death of your spouse. Your reasons for doing so are up to you and no one else. There may come a time when you decide it’s best to put your wedding ring to rest with the other memories of your previous life.
Grieving is a difficult process that we all handle differently. At some point you will find a reason to smile again. One day you will wake up and not be flooded with instant pain and longing for your partner.
It may be difficult to believe now, but one day time will mend the pain. This does not mean you will no longer care about or miss your spouse but that you are ready to start living again.
It is okay to move on and be happy after the death of a loved one. Your spouse would want you to lead a happy life, even if they are no longer in it. Moving on might mean leaving some of the memories in the past, including your wedding ring.
Your wedding ring is an important part of your past, but it might not have a place in your future. Taking off your wedding ring doesn’t mean you have to discard it. You can keep your wedding ring somewhere special or use it to create a special token of remembrance for your deceased spouse. What you decide to do with your wedding ring depends on what you feel is best for allowing you to move on.
15 Memorable Things To Do With Your Wedding Ring After The Death Of A Spouse
Below are 15 ideas on how to use wedding ring after death of your spouse. These are simply suggestions for what you can do and certainly not the only options. These suggestions are just to give you inspiration should you want to memorialize your wedding ring in a way that fits for your situation.
1. MOVE IT TO YOUR RIGHT HAND
The wedding band is commonly worn on the left ring finger in the United States and United Kingdom. Moving your wedding ring from your left hand to your right hand will signify that you are no longer married, or a widow.
This may be a good first start if you are still having a tough time letting go of your spouse. Moving the ring over to your right hand takes away some of the significance that wearing it on your left hand holds.
If it helps, you can begin to think of your wedding ring as a widow ring. This will reinforce the idea that you are moving on and letting some aspects of your past life go.
2. WEAR IT ON A NECKLACE
A ring doesn’t have to be worn on your finger. Find a pretty chain that matches your wedding band and loop your ring on the chain to make a beautiful keepsake jewelry necklace.
Your wedding ring will still be always on your person, just not worn in a significant way. If you have your spouse's wedding band, you can add it to your necklace and wear them together. This will keep the memory of your marriage close to your heart wherever you go.
3. HAVE IT REDESIGNED
Maybe you’ve decided you want to wear your ring, but as a totally different jewelry piece entirely. Find a quality jeweler that will be able to take your ring and transform it into another beautiful design. The jeweler could take stones from your wedding band and put them on a brooch or a necklace.
They can turn your wedding ring into beautiful memorial jewelry to remember your spouse by. Additionally, they could melt the ring down and turn it into a pendant or coin. You could then have it engraved with your spouse’s name or your wedding date.
You may consider repurposing it to be made into a fingerprint ring with your spouse's fingerprint etched around the band. This will take some additional planning as you will have to ensure you have your spouse’s fingerprint available to use. Fingerprint jewelry adds a personable and more memorable touch to your jewelry pieces.
4. GIFT IT AS AN HEIRLOOM
Saying goodbye to your wedding ring can be as easy as gifting it to your child or another family member as an heirloom. You may feel more comfortable saying goodbye to your ring if you know it is staying in the family and going to someone you love.
Think of gifting your ring as a continuous cycle of love. You wore the ring during your marriage and now that it’s over, another loved one can carry on the tradition on their own wedding day. Although that would certainly be fitting, your wedding band does not have to be used again as such.
You could gift it to a child or family member as a graduation gift, birthday gift, or for any special occasion. The ring will be passed onto a new generation and take on a new meaning as it goes.
5. USE IT IN A MEMORIAL DISPLAY
Your ring can be displayed in a display case dedicated to your deceased spouse. You can purchase one or make your own shadow box display with photos and keepsakes of your loved one. Place the display somewhere special in your home where you can look at it whenever you want.
You can also consider finding a beautiful jewelry box engraved with your spouse’s initials as a resting place for your ring. The jewelry box can be set up somewhere in your house for others to see or kept somewhere private for safekeeping.
6. REMAKE IT INTO YOUR SPOUSE'S CREMATION URN
Should you decide to have your spouse cremated after their death, consider remaking your wedding bands into the design on the urn. Find a talented craftsman who can make a beautiful re-working of your rings into the front of the urn. In that way, you will have both your loved one and your wedding rings in the same place.
This may not be possible if you are under a time constraint, or your spouse passes unexpectedly. Having your rings worked into the urn will take additional planning and time. Consider this an option if you and your spouse are both planning your deaths in the present.
7. BURY IT WITH YOUR SPOUSE
When it comes time to bury the past, burying your wedding ring will express this both physically and symbolically. You may consider burying your wedding ring with your spouse as a way to say your final goodbye.
Let your loved one keep both of your wedding bands close to their heart as they meet their final resting place. It will be sad to let it go, but you will find comfort knowing it’s with them. You can ask for the ring or both rings to be placed on their fingers or kept on their person somewhere.
It’s common for families to want to bury their loved ones with special tokens to take with them to the afterlife. Your spouse can take your wedding ring with them to keep your love alive even after their death.
8. PLANT IT WITH A MEMORY TREE TO HONOR YOUR SPOUSE
Death is a natural part of life and though sad, it is necessary for new life to take its place. In this way death gives birth to new energy. This is seen everywhere in nature. When a living organism dies, their remains eventually find their way back to the earth to be used to fertilize the soil and feed new life.
Your loved one’s passing is no different. You can choose to plant a tree for honoring a spouse after death and plant your wedding ring with it. The wedding band will be returning to earth and with it, a new tree will blossom signifying rebirth. As you watch the tree grow, you will be reminded of your loved one’s once fruitful life.
9. SET IT INTO THE HEADSTONE
As in the previous example, setting your rings into your spouse’s headstone may require some additional funeral planning. But if you have the time and budget, consider having your wedding bands set into your spouse’s headstone as a beautiful memorial for your love.
This may be something you want to discuss with your spouse while they are still alive as it will take time and money to do this. Sit down with your spouse one day to discuss your funeral plans and how they would feel about setting their headstone with your rings.
10. PUT IT ON YOUR PET'S COLLAR
Pets are wonderful additions to the family that can help to alleviate the loneliness we feel when our loved ones leave us. If you’ve found company in a new furry friend, consider adding your ring to their collar as a way to honor your pets importance in your life.
And if it was your spouse's pet, it would mean even more to have the pet they loved wearing your wedding ring around their neck. Furry friends are like family, and they may be more important to you than family in some cases. Your spouse would likely get a kick out of seeing their pet wearing your ring. It will surely bring a smile on their face wherever they are in the next life.
11. HAVE A CEREMONIAL GOOD-BYE FOR YOUR RING
If it feels right to say goodbye to your ring forever, have a ceremonial goodbye to send it off. You can invite others and make it a small party or do it solo if it’s more meaningful for you.
Ways you can send off your ring could include tossing it in a river or ocean, tying it to a floating lantern and watching it fly away, or leaving it in a place you both loved and shared memories together. In its place you can choose to wear cremation jewelry to keep your loved one with you during your daily routine.
12. FIND WAYS TO INVOLVE IT ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS
Many widows set a place at the dinner table for their deceased spouse on the holidays for at least a year after their spouse passes. You can find a way to incorporate your wedding rings into the holidays by using them as napkin rings, table decor, or even stringing them up on the Christmas tree as ornaments.
Using a wedding ring for memories is an excellent conversation starter for get togethers with friends and family. When they see your wedding ring used as decoration on the Christmas tree or used as part of a table setting, they will be reminded of your spouse. In this way your spouse can be included in the conversations during the holidays and their memory kept alive.
13. CREATE ARTWORK
If you happen to be especially artistic or crafty, you could consider incorporating your wedding ring into a piece of art. Maybe find a way to incorporate it into your pottery work or sculpture. You could hang it along with a homemade wind chime or sew it into a tapestry or blanket.
Resin artwork is another creative idea for memorializing your ring in a beautiful way. Find a mold you like and place your wedding ring inside with the resin, glitter, keepsakes, or whatever else you wish to be included in your resin art. Resin is a creative and inexpensive way to create art.
For more DIY wedding ring ideas after death of spouse, check online. There are plenty of cool things you can make on your own that will be perfect for showcasing your wedding ring.
14. FRAME IT
Buy a beautiful frame to display your wedding ring. You can include a wedding picture of you and your spouse or have an inspiring quote in the background. A framed wedding ring would be a beautiful addition to a family room or bedroom.
Honoring a spouse after death in this way shows that your spouse still has a presence in your home. Anytime you look at your wedding ring framed on the wall you will be reminded of your spouse and the cherished memories you shared.
15. SEW IT ONTO CLOTHING
One way to ensure that you never misplace your wedding ring is to sew it onto your clothing. Choose a special outfit that you would wear on occasions where you would want to have your wedding ring close to you.
A holiday dress maybe, or an outfit you wore that your spouse loved seeing you in. You can sew the ring securely into the inside of your outfit, so it is not visible and only you know it is there.
Another idea would be to sew it into the wedding gown or tuxedo of one of your children for their wedding day. In this way they will have a piece of their deceased parent with them on their special day.
Non-Traditional Ways To Get Rid Of Your Wedding Ring
How you feel about your wedding ring after your spouse passes will be different for everyone. Many people will hold an emotional attachment to their ring and decide to hold onto it for some time.
But material possessions do not ignite the same sentiments from everyone. Some people may feel their ring has no sentimental value now that their loved one is gone. They may not want to keep it for that reason alone.
It also depends on the relationship you shared with your spouse before their passing. Maybe your relationship had been strained for years before the death of your spouse occurred. In this case, you may have felt a sense of relief that the marriage was over.
Your wedding ring may remind you of more bad times than good. Whatever the case may be, you feel that you would rather get rid of your ring rather than memorialize it.
Wedding rings have monetary value both for re-sale and for jewelry repurposing. You could consider selling your ring if you don’t want to keep it. In some cases, the death of a spouse can put you under financial strain.
The money you receive from the sale of your ring can help you pay funeral bills or your mortgage. You could also use the money to give to your children or grandchildren to put towards a college or wedding fund. Or you could simply use the money for yourself as it was a ring that was given to you.
There should be no shame in doing whatever you want to do with your ring. It’s your decision and your decision alone. Before you sell your ring to just anyone, get it appraised to find out its value.
- Sell it at a jewelry auction house. A quick google search will show you where the closest auction house to sell your ring is located. Additionally, there are online auctions you can choose to use to sell your ring. Just be sure you thoroughly do your research on any online company before sending them your ring. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers online who would cheat you out of your valuables
- Sell it on an online retailer. Ebay.com is one of the more popular online retailers where you can buy and sell previously owned goods. They sell everything there from jewelry to coffee mugs. Ebay is a legit company that has been around for years. They offer a safe platform for both buyers and sellers to perform transactions. Ebay or online companies like Ebay could be a good option for selling your ring.
- Sell it on Craigslist. The online classified Craigslist is popular for finding everything from job openings to apartment rentals. People can also post listings for items that they want to sell or get rid of. If you are in a hurry to get some cash for your ring, selling it on Craigslist will likely be your fastest option. Just be sure that you take safety precautions when completing the transaction. Exchange the ring for money in person in a public area. It may be wise to bring a friend along with you for extra security. Unfortunately, you don’t know who you are dealing with on the internet. While there are many legitimate people on there simply looking to purchase a ring, there is the possibility of scam artists and criminals posing as an interested buyer.
If you think your wedding ring would be of better use or value to someone else, consider donating it to a person or charity. Give it to someone in need who can’t afford a wedding ring of their own or donate it to a charity that will sell it and use the money for their cause. You can pick a charity fund that your spouse was passionate about. If you feel no attachment to your ring and don’t need the money, there is no reason to keep it lying around. Those in need will appreciate it much more than you would in this case.
You could take your wedding ring to a pawn shop and either sell it for money or exchange it for something of equal value. Many people sell their valuables at pawn shops when they need cash. There are likely to be some interesting items hanging around in a pawn shop. If you’d rather replace your ring with something cool rather than take the money, a pawn shop could be an option. Pawning your wedding ring for something new can be a symbolic gesture of moving on with your life.
Wedding Ring Frequently Asked Questions
What finger does a widow wear her wedding ring on?
To put it simply, a widow wears her wedding ring on whichever finger she chooses. Wearing a wedding band on your ring finger on your left hand signifies you are married. Technically a widow is no longer married after her partner has passed, nullifying the marriage by law.
A widow may feel uncomfortable wearing her wedding ring on her marriage hand for this reason. She can choose to wear the ring on her right hand instead if that feels better for her. However, there is no rule that says a widow must stop wearing her wedding ring on her marriage finger. If she likes wearing it, then she can wear her ring for as long as she pleases.
Can I bury my wedding ring with my deceased husband?
Many families choose to bury items of special value with their deceased loved ones, including wedding rings. It is entirely possible to bury your wedding rings with your deceased husband if that is your wish. However, once the rings are buried there is no way of getting them back. Be sure you want to give up your ring before you bury it in the ground forever.
Wedding rings can make great family heirlooms and you may regret burying it years from now. There is also the chance that your wedding ring could be stolen during the burial process and not make it to the casket before being set into the ground. Consider how comfortable you feel with your funeral service before deciding to bury your jewelry with your husband.
What is the best thing to do with a wedding ring once your spouse has died?
The best thing to do with a wedding ring after your spouse has died depends entirely on you. Many surviving partners continue to wear their ring after their spouse’s death until it feels right for them to take it off. Other people may choose to bury their wedding ring with their spouses in the casket.
Some hold on to their ring and gift it to a family member as a family heirloom. There is no right or wrong thing to do with your ring after your spouse’s death. You should do what feels right and makes sense for you.
What if I am not ready to take my wedding ring off since my husband died?
If you are not ready to take your wedding ring after the death of your husband, then don’t. There is no rule that says you cannot wear your wedding ring after your spouse is deceased. If you feel more comfortable wearing it, then wear it. However, you may want to consider taking it off to fully move on with life. Your ring may serve as a reminder of your husband and your relationship.
It’s perfectly fine to cherish those memories, however, you must not stay stuck in the past. It is normal and healthy to move on with your life after the death of a loved one. There may come a time when you are ready to let memories live only in the past and focus on the future. Taking the ring off might help you do that.
Who gets wedding rings after death?
The surviving spouse will be given their deceased spouse’s wedding ring after their death. Unless taken off before the deceased’s body is taken to the funeral home, the funeral home will take the ring off your spouse and hand it over to you. If both you and your spouse die, your wedding rings will be given to your next of kin or whomever you entrusted your belongings to in your will.
Can a widow continue to wear her wedding ring after the death of her husband?
A widow can choose to continue wearing her ring after her husband dies if she desires to. Saying goodbye to someone you love is hard and no one should judge you for how you choose to do it. If that means continuing to wear your wedding ring, then so be it. Technically a wedding ring worn by a widow is now called a widow ring since death nullifies marriage. You can decide to refer to your wedding ring as a widow ring if people ask you about it.
Is it tacky to keep my wedding ring from my deceased husband when I am getting remarried?
Whoever you marry is a special person in your life and remains so even after death. No matter what you do with your wedding ring after their death, no one can erase the memories you two shared together. Whoever you marry next will be equally as important in your life. Letting go of your deceased spouse’s wedding ring can symbolize making room for your new husband.
However, if your wedding ring means a lot to you then your new husband should respect your desire to keep it. He should understand that your deceased partner holds a special place in your heart that no one can replace. You can wear your new wedding ring and keep your old wedding ring in a special place for safekeeping.
Are you still a Mrs. after husband dies?
Legally, once your spouse dies you are no longer in a marriage contract. On paper you are single, though in your heart you may still feel married to your spouse. There are no rules that govern what title you choose to use in correspondence or in your daily life. A widow may continue to refer to herself as a MRS if she wants to. While on official documents she will have to refer to herself as single or widowed, she can introduce herself as a MRS in her everyday life.
Til Death Do Us Part
There will be many mementos left over from your past life with your deceased spouse, a wedding ring is simply one of them. Belongings have meaning only if we give it to them. If you decide that your ring is important to you, then you should keep it. If your ring’s meaning has died along with your spouse, then consider an alternative for its place in your possession
There is no easy way to go on living without your other half, it is simply something you must do. You can take comfort in the fact that you were loved and had the opportunity to know your spouse. One day we will all be laid down to rest and hopefully reunited with our loved ones once again. For now, you must keep on living and hold on to the belief that your spouse is looking down on you from above.
January 19, 2022 by Jeri K. Augustus