Grief Journal of Dr. Donaldson: The Bracelet


I wanted to take a moment and write about an experience of mine because it is nothing new or special or interesting. Totally worth reading, right? However, I know others have shared similar experiences and may be struggling with them right now. This is how I have survived and am pushing through it.

History of our bracelets

A few years into our relationship, my husband gave me a bracelet as a gift. It was a very nice and expensive piece of jewelry that might have fit my ankle! I attempted to wear it on my wrist but always feared it would fall off. I then asked him to try it on. Low and behold, it actually did fit him. He was the not the type of man to try to be sneaky and get himself a present. Well, actually he was! However, in this situation, it was very clear that he had hoped this would be something special for me. After a lot of laughter and discussion, we decided that since the bracelet looked so good on him, we would save up money and get me a matching one. He wore his until the coroners took it off of his body, and they handed it to me.

The bracelet ritual

My husband and I had developed a special ritual of sorts whenever we would have to remove our bracelets. If he had to remove his, I would kiss his wrist before and after removing it. He would do the same for mine. It was a sweet way of connecting and had special meaning for the two of us. After he died, this became an issue for me. Luckily, I never took off my bracelet to shower, go swimming or exercise. I did my best to create a different ritual for when I had to remove it for medical procedures or testing purposes. Not feeling the weight of the bracelet on my wrist has created feelings of anxiety in me until it has been returned.

Wear and tear and the need to repair

A few weeks ago, I noticed that part of the metal braiding had broken. So, I contacted the company where we bought it, and they encouraged me to send the bracelet in for repairs. Of course, I procrastinated for weeks until, the broken metal pieces on the bracelet started creating physical pain. At that point, I reluctantly removed my bracelet, wrapped it up and have sent it in for repairs.

What now?

Knowing how hard this could be having a naked wrist for weeks and weeks, I knew I needed to do something to soothe my anxiety. I have started focusing and fidgeting with my necklace on which is our wedding bands. I tried wearing other bracelets so that I might feel a similar weight. That has not been as helpful. I am still experimenting with ideas on how to deal with the details. Self care has become crucial. I check in often to see how I am feeling from moment to moment. I am doing yoga. Going through pictures and looking at different things around the house which remind me of him have been helpful. Honestly, I think this may be as much as I can do. I do remind myself that I will get through this, and that my bracelet will return. I address my fears of it getting lost in the mail or stolen. If that happens, I will deal with it then. Mostly, I focus on being compassionate towards myself during this more difficult time.

Do any of you have some suggestions?


We don’t have to journey alone…

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