in , ,

Newly Engaged Widow Balks After SIL Asks For Necklace Made From Late Husband’s Wedding Ring

person wearing a gold necklace
simon2579/Getty Images

Marriage is ’til death do us part, but sometimes that comes sooner than we ever anticipated. But does being widowed young mean you should forget or discard your first spouse if you find love again?

A young widow turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback after her former sister-in-law asked for a precious memento of her marriage.

SleeplessYellowSun asked:

“AITA for not giving my former sister-in-law (SIL) the necklace I had made from my wedding rings from my deceased husband?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“When I (27, female) was 22 I got married to my high school sweetheart who passed away five months after we married when a drunk driver drove into his car.”

“It took me a while to take off my rings, and when I did I didn’t want them to just sit in a drawer forever. So, I took them to a jeweller and had his and my rings melted down and used the gold and the stones to make a pendent and some small stud earrings.”

“I have the earrings in my jewellery box and I wear the necklace everyday. One, because I like the way it looks and two, because I like the idea of having a tangible part of him with me always.”

“Last month my boyfriend (34, male) of almost two years proposed to me and I said yes.”

“I keep in touch with my former SIL (29, female) who we will call Ava and last weekend she invited me out for drinks. We caught up a bit before she congratulated me on my engagement.”

“She then asked me if she could have my necklace since it would mean more to her as his sister then it would to me now that I was getting remarried and moving on. Which honestly stunned me that anyone would outright ask for something like that.”

“I told her I would think about it and moved the conversation along, but went home shortly after as it was just awkward.”

“I just want to make it clear that it is not an heirloom piece, or overly expensive. It was a small emerald ring that we found on holiday at a local jeweller and I fell in love with it.”

“I told my best friend (28, female) about it and she said that it seemed strange that I was still so attached to it given its history and my new engagement. She thinks that I should probably give it to Ava as it would mean more to her, and I should shed anything from my old life and embrace my new one.”

“She said that I should get a new necklace and make new memories, and that she would go with me or I could ask my fiancé.”

“But the thing is, yes, I have moved on and I am completely happy in my relationship and I am so excited for the life we are creating together.”

“But a part of me will always have love for my former husband and mourn him and the life that we could have had together, and I don’t think that that takes away anything from my new relationship. They are different loves and lives.”

“But now it feels silly to me that I have conveyed all this into a necklace.”

“My fiancé says he does not care and he knows that I love him and our life together, and understands that I will always have some level of grief and that he loves how I have loved and keep loving and how I embrace life and people because of my experience.”

“So AITA for not wanting to give my former SIL my necklace?”

The OP added:

“I just wanted to clarify that my best friend is really one of the most incredible people. She is my rock and a big part of why I am still around and not locked away somewhere (hospital, prison; it felt like it could have gone either way for a while there).”

“She and my mum tag-teamed me after the accident and made sure I ate and would just sit with me in silence. She found a grief support group and would drive me there and wait for me in the carpark when meetings finished.”

“And what I could never repay her for was how she stood so strongly for me during the court hearings, I had never felt such pure, unadulterated hatred towards anyone or anything as I did to that driver and she held my hand through it all and helped me get through it. She let me sit in my grief and anger but didn’t let it consume me.”

“It felt like my brain snapped and she helped me stick it back together, but like that Japanese art style where they repair broken vases with gold so it is broken, but when it is put back together it is stronger and more beautiful. I don’t know where I would be without her because she didn’t have to do any of what and she did.”

“I don’t like the way she worded what she said, but she has always been the type that after a breakup she tosses away any reminders of her ex. I’ve gone with her to buy new clothing to replace ones that hold too vivid of memories.”

“I think what some of the comments say is right and that she compares the grief she has experienced from breakups to what I have experienced. Which while you can’t compare grief because grief is grief, the experiences are worlds apart.”

The OP summed up their situation.

“I think I could be the a**hole for being so attached to a necklace and because I don’t want to give my necklace to my former SIL now that I am getting remarried when it would mean a lot to her.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“You’re NTA. The necklace is yours, and it is wildly inappropriate for your former sister-in-law to ask for it.”

“‘…it would mean more to her as his sister than it would to me now that I was getting remarried and moving on…’.”

“That’s ridiculous. I’m sure she has other things that remind her of her brother. Of course, they’re probably not jewels… but she has no connection to the ones in the necklace as you and he picked them out together.”

“I see nothing wrong with hanging on to a memento of someone who helped make you who you are.” ~ Dittoheadforever

“NTA. He is not your former husband. He is your late husband and will always be your late husband. The rings were something that sealed your bond. Between you and him.”

“Not anyone else, not him and his sister. Even though the rings are now a necklace, it is still a reminder of your life together.”

“Your past is your past, and you are allowed to keep stuff from the past. Otherwise we would all have to get rid of heirlooms and other stuff from our pasts.”

“Yes, you are moving on, and you are in a new relationship and will even get married. But it does not mean your old relationship is worthless.”

“It is not like you are living a new life. It does not work that way. You are you because of your past.” ~ Pollythepony1993

“Absolutely NTA. Do not give her the necklace. This means nothing to her as she has no real memories attached to it, but you do.”

“You and your husband picked up that ring, on a vacation that you took together, in a moment where the stars aligned. It was not just a ring and not just a pendant. It is part of your life and holds both the happiest and saddest parts of it.”

“And all of that made you who you are now. Your fiancé understands that without all these life experiences, you two might not even be together right now. He doesn’t deny your past and the existence of someone you loved and that you carry him with you.”

“Don’t start now just because others think you can just erase the past.” ~ time-watertraveler

The OP provided an update. 

“Ava really isn’t a bad person, she was my sister for years, I used to absolutely adore her (after I turned 19 though, before 19 she thought me and her brother were brats).”

“But after the court hearings, my former MIL, FIL, and, to an extent, Ava cut contact with me because seeing me brought back too many memories, which I understand, but it hurt me deeply because they were a big part of my family since I was 15.”

“Ava and I still kept in contact but it was more of a holidays and birthdays kind of thing with the occasional drinks and dinner. So, while I still have a lot of love for her our relationship has changed drastically, and her asking me what she did and how she worded it was really not in the realm of anything I thought she would say or ask of me.”

“She does have some of my late husband’s belongings, like things from his childhood and knickknacks and some clothing, so I don’t understand why she would think to ask for my necklace.”

“I am going to take advice from the comments, talk to her, and try to figure out where she is coming from. Reading the different perspectives has really helped me think more clearly and feel a little less hurt by what she said.”

“Because of our history I want to give her the benefit of the doubt at first, but if she pushes the topic then I will have to make some choices. I am not sure how I am going to word it yet or if I want to say it via text or in person. But I will figure that out.”

“Grief is really strange and hard and isn’t something you understand until it happens to you.”

“What kind of helped me to understand, and made me feel like I wasn’t losing my mind, was the visualisation that your soul is like a bubble that grows with you and your experiences and relationships and you are just floating around in it.”

“Good experiences and relationships add things to the bubble that make it beautiful like little bits of glitter and flowers and fluffiness. Bad things add spikes and staples and grief is like one big spike that when it first strikes goes from one end to the other and encompasses everything and you bump up against it all the time at first and it just really hurts.”

“Then time passes and your bubble grows around the spike, the spike is still there but you don’t touch it as often, but when you do it hurts just as bad as the first time. But the upside to that is the good things like joy like when you think of someone you love and it’s all fluffy and safe and nice.”

“I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else but it has always helped me to remember that fresh, fiery pain won’t feel like that forever and that I will bump up against something fluffy and kind and happy.”

“You can even fall in love again, which I am so lucky and grateful for my fiancé. He is truly a gem (too soon?) of a man and makes me feel so safe and warm. Which is a feeling that I didn’t feel for a long, long while.”

“But just always make sure the people you love know that you love them, give them extra hugs, go and see or call that person you have been meaning to (this only goes for the people who deserve to be in your life).”

“Always leave things on a pleasant note; even if you are arguing, you don’t even have to make up. Just make sure your parting words are pleasant and loving. Because you really never know when something could happen, you always think you have time.”

“My goal in life is to have my relationships with people in such a way that my final words won’t have to be ‘tell *blank* I love them’, because they will already know.”

The OP had a lot to consider when it came to her SIL’s grief.

We wish them both well on their journey towards peace.

Perhaps there’s a way for this to bring them closer together, as the rings were meant to symbolize.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.