I’m really glad I took these photos a couple of days ago, because I simply wasn’t up for it today. I’m tired. The bags under my eyes are looking for my passport. I changed from my robe to my pajamas around 11 am and I’ve been wearing them ever since. In my defense, they’re new Christmas jammies with a super cute mouse wearing a scarf and catching snowflakes, and they’re so darn soft I may never ever take them off.
But the biggest reason I simply wasn’t up to getting dolled up, wigged up, and smiling at the camera was because I now have to wear my engagement ring and wedding band on a chain around my neck. (No ball, just the chain.)
For the last few weeks I’ve had a blister on the inside of my pinky. My rings are a little loose and when I wash my hands, which I do more than a dozen times a day, they rub. The web of skin between my pinkie and ring finger is cracked. So are my knuckles. After I took my rings off, a red band marked where it had been. It’s still there.
In the five and half years Jim and I have been married, I have never removed my wedding band. I’ve taken off my engagement ring to knead dough or something equally goopy, but it goes right back on my finger. Most of the time I give the ring to Jim and when I’m done he slides it back on, just like he did the first time.
Yeah yeah. I know. We’re sappy.
Wasn’t I just talking about joy and happy and blah blah blah? Yes. I was. Today is simply a down day. They happen. Of course, I haven’t written yet. I haven’t “processed.” One thing I didn’t mention yesterday is that some days I don’t write because I’m in a funk and I don’t want to be pulled out. Some days I simply want to be angry or scared or sad. I keep looking at my hands, which are scaly and sprinkled with tiny little spots. There’s some discoloration. My finger blares that tell-tale red band where my rings used to be. It’s all due to chemo. And you know what? It sucks. It really, really sucks.
OK, Theresa, rally.
Jim (Best. Partner. Ever.) put his hands on my shoulders and told me that I’m still wearing my rings, they’re just around my neck, and that my “rings” are in me. When he said it, I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted to wallow. No, that’s not fair to judge myself like that. I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel the sorrow of these physical changes over which I have no control. I know the rings are a symbol. With or without them, our love is the same. I’m upset because I can’t wear them. My body won’t let me.
But – and here’s the but! that I always, always get to when I write through my emotions – I look at these photos that we took in our library, our cozy little loft nook that we’ve filled with books and a comfy chaise lounge and a lamp made by my dad, and I see a new look. It’s another side of me. It’s the author, wearing the dress she wore at the launch party for her first book. I see the necklace my mom had made from the diamonds in both my grandmother’s and my dad’s wedding rings.
I didn’t know that the day I’d post these pictures in that necklace that I’d be wearing my own rings on a string. Did the universe?
Then there’s Jim, crowned in a silly wig and reading my first book. He’s wearing his jammies and his comfy robe and eating bon-bons.
Which is exactly what I’m going to do.
I feel better now.