DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband died in July, just days before his 74th birthday, and just weeks before our 52nd wedding anniversary. Four months later, I think I’m coping fairly well — with the help of my family and close friends. Twice recently — when I have been out for lunch with friends — someone has casually said, "Oh, I see you are still wearing your rings..." One of these people is an old friend who lost her own husband just two years ago. She still wears her rings.
I said, "Of course I’m still wearing my rings. Why wouldn’t I? I’m not divorced, I’m a widow." She just said, "Well, lots of people just stop wearing them after a while." Then we dropped the subject.
My question: is that actually "a thing"? Do widows or widowers really stop wearing their rings? Are we expected to stop wearing them? I suppose if you are young and hope to remarry one day, you would at some point — but do seniors?
— Just Curious, Winnipeg
Dear Just Curious: There’s something weird about people "casually" saying this, especially from another widow, who is still wearing her own rings. Maybe she was hinting she wanted a conversation about why she’s also still wearing her rings. It’s understandable why you, widowed just four months, would be wearing your rings.
If you feel somebody is clearly criticizing, you have a perfect right to tell this person that your decision and feelings on the matter are private. You can say it quietly, in front of other people, if necessary.
Some people have had long marriages and feel there will never be another mate who’d qualify. They wear their rings proudly, like a part of their hand, and will be happy to leave them on for the rest of their lives. Others don’t feel that way. Wearing the wedding rings is totally a matter of choice. Taking them off is not "a thing." People may ask about their departed mate and they may discuss them and then move on quickly to another topic. It’s really nobody’s business to dig deeper in that private place in their heart.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I just saw a sad, romantic movie at a local theatre and a few tears slid down my cheek. Two seats over, there was a woman who had brought a big tissue box and was openly bawling.
Afterwards, I saw her outside the theatre, still crying, all alone, wiping away the last of her tears. I asked her what was wrong. She told me she used to go to this movie with her boyfriend — it was their favourite thing — and he recently broke up with her for another girl. Then she started crying again.
I didn’t know what to say or do, so I left her and talked to an attendant, who told me she’s not the only one who comes to the movies "for a good cry."
That made me mad. Why don’t attendants ask the person to leave?
— So Annoyed! Winnipeg
Dear Annoyed: Having her two seats over was much too close, agreed. What to do? Let the person have their cry, but get right up and move from your seat to one far away.
Attendants can’t ask a person to leave after they’ve paid unless they’re causing a really big disturbance, like fighting out loud, drinking cocktails with their friends or making out in the back row with clothing coming off.
Taking off for the far corner is your best idea, but also speak to the attendant on your way to the new seat to see what they can do.
Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.