Memorial Day remembrances stretch deeply into many people’s stories. A shade of grief or worry might emerge from a radio essay by a mother of a grown son, as she remembers when he departed for his first tour of duty, when she noticed that he needed a shower as she hugged him goodbye, triggering a memory of her giving him a bath as a baby. A memory she quickly dismissed.
This story is of a woman, Ashley, getting her engagement ring reset so that she could wear it as an everyday ring, as told by King and Curated, the Beacon jeweler who redesigned it, via two Instagram posts here and here. To show another side of remembrance on this Memorial Day Weekend, we have republished the story here, with tiny edits for clarity.
When Ashley came for her custom appointment, she brought an engagement ring and explained it was from her husband who had since passed. I didn’t pry. I didn’t want to bring up anything that would possibly upset her. She explained that she kept wearing it after he had passed, but when people would compliment her on it or ask her about her husband, she would either be honest and tell them he passed, or she would find a way to thank them and avoid mentioning it to not make things awkward.
It’s very hard to find the words to comfort loss like that. You never really know what to say. I just told her I was sorry to hear that, and she made sure to continue to tell me that was why she wanted to reset it.
Along with [this ring was a ring from] her mother-in-law. [She wanted to combine rings]. She wanted it to look like a ring she could enjoy every day, [so] that she would have Nate and her mother-in-law in one ring mixed with new stones.
She wanted it to represent the growth since his passing while at the same time memorializing him. She didn’t want it to look like an engagement ring anymore. So we made sure the diamond was offset by colorful stones to complement both the sapphire from her mother-in-law and other stones we hand-picked for her. We added sprinklings of diamonds in between to add texture-like pattern to break up the modern settings of the larger stones.
As our conversation continued, I asked her when she needed it done by. She said she was going on a trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and she would like it to be done when she got back. I was impressed! I asked who she was going with. She said she was going with TAPS. I didn’t know what that was and she explained. “TAPS - Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. They support anyone [who] has lost a special someone in the military (spouse, child, friend, sibling, etc). They supply grief counseling, host workshops, retreats, expeditions, etc. Basically they help you not feel alone. To help you understand that someone out there is going through the same thing that you are and that TAPS is here to help. It's an incredible organization with awesome resources.”
Then my heart sank. Ugh. As fate would have it, Ashley’s new ring was handed off yesterday. She came in excited, got happy and emotional. And then told me - out of all the times this ring could be given to her in its new setting of past, present, and future - that Memorial Day weekend, when we celebrate those who make the ultimate sacrifice, couldn’t have been a more fitting time.
It’s been 6 years since Nate’s passing.
For more information on TAPS, including how to use their resources or to donate, visit their website here. To participate in remembrances and to show appreciation in Beacon, you can attend Beacon’s Memorial Day Parade at 1 pm (line up at noon at City Hall on Route 9D). The parade starts on 9D (Wolcott Avenue) at City Hall, then heads up Main Street.
The Memorial Service at Beacon’s Memorial Building at 413 Main St. (across from Chase Bank) will follow the parade, at approximately 2 or 2:15 pm, “to give everyone a chance to get here,” says parade organizer Tony Lasseter.