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Monday, 14 November 2022 11:03

A Lost Wedding Ring


Dale Wright, long-standing parishioner at St Brendan’s Shepparton, recounts a story about the loss of his wedding ring.  He shared this heartfelt reflection at the Married Couples Weekend Masses at St Brendan’s in early October.

In early August Lorraine and I went to Sorrento for a few days. As I sat on the couch in our apartment, I noticed that my wedding ring was loose and had nearly come off.  Lorraine and I had made a pact and commitment 47 years ago that our rings would never come off.

Even for medical procedures I insisted on hospital staff taping my wedding ring rather than heeding to their request to remove it. 

We arrived home late on a bitterly cold and wet Friday afternoon.  The next morning, first thing, a friend and I went to Mooroopna to secretly cut our mate Steve’s lawns ─ Steve was coming back from overseas the next day.

It was raining still, but we kept on cutting the lawn. As we were about to leave, Steve’s mother drove by and caught us out. As we quickly chatted by her car, laughing about being caught out, Í looked down and grabbed my wedding ring finger. My heart sank; the look of horror could be seen on my face and panic became me. My wedding ring of 47 years was not on my finger!

I quickly ran back to the water-soaked lawn, scanning every inch, but sadly to no avail. We sifted through wet lawn clippings, over and over.

Had I lost it in Sorrento or walking the streets of Mornington?

A mad dash home; then ringing up the apartment where we had stayed, asking for their cleaners to look.

Coming home, we had stopped in Nagambie for lunch ─ could it have come off there?

Should I call the Sorrento Police?  Put ads in the Mornington paper? It was really overwhelming.

I recall my grandmother losing her wedding ring on the farm near Horsham.  Sixty-five years later it was found and made headlines in the local Wimmera Mail Times.

Saturday and Sunday were the most depressing days, mainly sitting in my chair staring in disbelief;

playing the organ at Mass felt like playing for a funeral.

When I told Fr Joe why I was so sad, he offered to bless another ring, but his kind gesture couldn’t really help me. I wanted my wedding ring.

Friends across the road insisted that I keep praying to St Anthony.  As I lamented on my lost wedding ring, it was like ─ “Here Dale, have another drink.”  It didn’t help.

I’m sure all Shepparton friends and family now knew of my loss. I just didn’t feel complete.

Running the men’s health groups in Shepparton on the following Tuesday, I sat in our circle and expressed my great sadness about losing my wedding ring.  One of the men, who was separated, made a sarcastic remark, “I’m glad I lost mine!”

When the murmured laughter of a couple of men settled, I waited in silence for about a minute, and this is what I said:

“Our two newborn babies rested on that ring; my grandchildren rested on that ring. I’ve held hands with my wife, family, and friends, all resting on that ring.  It rested on the backs of loved ones as I hugged them; it’s waved goodbye and made strangers welcome, and it rested on the hand of my dying mother a few months ago.”.

The room fell silent as I noticed those who were married circling their wedding ring with the other hand ─ as you are probably doing now.

Three times I borrowed a metal detector to go over the lawn of my friend Steve’s place. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right, so other men came and did the same.

After three months, I finally resolved that my wedding ring was lost. I put on a dress ring and told people that “at least it shows I’m tagged.”  Fr Joe again offered to bless this ring ─ meaningless to me; St Anthony had let me down.

Three months gone and I knew the blessing of married couples was coming up.  So, on Thursday 13 October, I, decided that I needed to purchase a wedding ring that day, when our daughter, Deanne, called me just before I left for work and asked me not to leave home, but to stay put. 

I said to Lorraine that something must be terribly wrong.  We waited at home for our daughter’s arrival.  As soon as she arrived, Deanne assured us all was OK. We stood close together in our kitchen as Deanne started to tell us her story, gripping her fist in front of us.  Then, in absolute amazement she opened her hand.

The baby which had rested on my wedding ring the day she was born, now had─ in the palm of her hand ─ my wedding ring! We froze ─gobsmacked─.hugs and tears!  How could this be ?

Deanne was cleaning out the back seat of her car and, in the little pocket of the side door, found my wedding ring. There is no explanation for how it got there.

It was like the Trinity. One can’t explain it. St Anthony wherever you are, thank you.

I raced to work to tell the good news to our son Stuart. I texted and called anyone who knew of my loss. I’m sure I could hear in my brain the hallelujah chorus as I ran out telling everyone my good news.

Within minutes, I came into our church; it was dark and raining. I rested my wedding ring on the altar, gave thanks and praise, andnd even played the organ.

I was now complete.

In finishing, you are about to come together as a married couple and have your wedding rings blessed again.  For those of you who have lost your spouse, may you reflect on your stories of those who rested on your wedding rings.

 I thank God that I was able to share the good news with you and how it felt to me.

P.S. St Anthony,  sorry I doubted your presence.