Unlike most of the couples for whom I make wedding bands, Karen and Rich are already married. In fact, Karen and Rich met at 17, married at 22, and their bond has become tighter and more meaningful over the course of their 24-year marriage.
Last September, Karen was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer after experiencing strange pains in her shoulder. She's a spin instructor and is acutely aware of her body. Now that she is in remission, her eyebrows have grown back, and she can once again enjoy the taste of food, she is even more thankful for the love and health she has in her life.
In honor of Karen's strength and the incredible bond between Karen and Rich, the non-profit Wish Upon A Wedding, an organization that grants weddings and vow renewals to couples facing serious illness or a life-altering circumstance, gave Karen and Rich the opportunity to recommit their vows to each other on July 19th, 2018.
Karen and Rich, it has been my absolute honor to design and donate your wedding bands.
Throughout my initial conversation with Karen and Rich, several things resonated as unique parts of their relationship. They spoke about how connected they feel and needing to always touch. They spoke about their bond becoming tighter and how memories they have created as a family become even more valuable as time goes on.
Each summer, Karen and Rich went to Maine with their daughters to stay with Karen's mother in a log cabin. There, they indulged in activities together from eating Rich's favorite soup to combing the beach for sea glass (favoring the beautiful blues and sea foam green). Maine and their memories of Maine bring them great joy.
There is a beautiful theme of paths in their story. Karen shared that her father passed away the year before she met Rich and that her father placed Rich in her path. They spoke of the hikes they take together and how Karen moves directly from points A to B with speed, while Rich's path meanders to discover new things. Through these walks they learn from each other and strike a key balance. They also spoke of Karen's mother passing away and selling her log cabin, only to now buy a house that was placed on their path with the same log cabin aesthetic as the house they loved so much in Maine.
When pulling together inspiration for the wedding bands, I was drawn to knots, not only because of Rich's dragon/Medieval aesthetic and the fact that we see lots of knots in the Victorian jewelry that Karen loves, but also because of their deeply entwined story. I see knots as ways in which their paths cross, build, and grow together.
In Rich's blackened gold ring, the interior of the band features an engraved eternity knot that will always touch his skin.
The knot that is Rich's pattern has become the structure of Karen's ring. The continuous path weaves through itself and is dotted with Montana Sapphires in saturated sky blue that are bezel set into the knot, reminiscent of the sea glass found sprinkled along the beach in Maine.
By using a basis of an eternity knot and intertwined paths in the wedding bands, we tie Karen and Rich together and incorporate an element in both rings that will allow them to always touch.
Karen, you mentioned that your illness provided you with a new perspective: That everything in life is about health and family. That as long as you and Rich have each other and your health, you consider yourself lucky and are happy.
Your optimism and beautiful spirit are contagious.
I must admit that I was brought to tears several times during our conversations and in making your rings because of the size and depth of the love that is so palpable between you. I am so moved by your story. Thank you for sharing your love, divulging so many details about your history together, and including me in your ongoing journey together.
Rich said that he will do anything to see you smile (and to see your silly dance moves).
To have found someone who is such an extension of yourself, source of joy, and strong support is an incredible gift.
I am honored to make these symbols of your connection.