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Lost: "TJG to KPW 4-5-08"
Submitted by Kevin Wuzzardo on Sat, 08/09/2008 - 1:15pm.
One of the things that I love most about living in Southeastern North Carolina is living just minutes from the beach. Even if I haven't taken advantage of it as much as I should, I have always enjoyed a day at Wrightsville Beach. And so it was with the early-morning joy of a kid on Christmas that I pestered my wife Tiffany today to make our long-delayed first visit to the sand this summer. But the place of such peaceful memories may never again hold such happiness for me through no fault of it's own.
Tiffany and I had been sitting on the sand in front of Public Beach Access 7 reading for about 45 minutes when I suggested we go down to the water. Despite my objections, she found it too cold to go in, so I waded in by myself and drifted among the surf. After a while I decided I had enough of the solitude, and decided that I would try to swim in on the next big wave. As I did, it happened. In the middle of a swimming stroke I felt a change on my left hand. It was my wedding ring floating off. The wedding ring I'd first slipped on my finger just 126 days ago.
I stopped as quickly as I could and used my hands, feet and eyes, stinging and blurry with a combination of salt, sweat and sunscreen, to try and grab it. In the back of my mind I knew that in reality I had but a split second to find the band. I looked up to the beach where my wife sunned her back. I knew the time I'd just spent searching had been fruitless. With tears now beginning to blur my vision, I walked back to my chair and told her I'd lost my ring, then broke down. The wedding ring I'd waited more than 30 years to wear, gone just a little more than four months into my marriage.
Ever supportful, Tiffany suggested we go back to the shoreline and look. We stood in the shallow surf, where I thought for a second I thought I caught a glint of gold. If it was my ring, which most likely it was not, it was quickly buried as another wave rolled in. On the verge of another break-down, I asked if we could go home.
Hours later, the pain has not subsided. I have an emptiness inside fueled by sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment and devastation. I have apologized again and again to my wife, who keeps trying to comfort me by telling me it's OK, it's an accident, it happens to other people. I know she's right, but I also feel I've let both of us down. I've lost the blessed symbol of our commitment. And even though we stopped on the way home at Kingoff's to make sure I'll have a new ring soon, it will never match the significance of the original, made in part from the gold of rings of lost loved ones, including my late grandmother.
And so I don't know how or if I'll ever be able to go back and enjoy a day at Wrightsville Beach or any beach, as it now symbolizes a place of great personal loss. Perhaps one day there will be recovery and redemption. Perhaps it will turn into one of those great stories days, weeks, months, years for now where someone sees a glimmer in the sand, and with quicker hands than mine grabs the golden ring inscribed "TJG to KPW 4-5-08."
By: Kevin Wuzzardo