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AIBU ask for my Mum's engagement ring back?

(39 Posts)
specki4eyes Wed 27-Jun-12 22:20:33

My parents got engaged during the war, just as my father was leaving to join his Air Force post. He had very little money, but managed to buy a pretty ring to give to my mother. She cherished this ring all her life. When the cancer which caused her death had so reduced her weight that she was unable to keep the ring on, she gave it to me.

Fast forward to the day 10 years ago when my son told me that he was going to propose to his girlfriend. He had no ring to give her and so I proferred my mother's ring as a token of his proposal. Within days of their engagement, a 'real' engagement ring was purchased. My DIL-to-be then took my mother's ring to a jeweller to be re-sized and cleaned. She kept it and wore it on her little finger until recently.

Nine years and two children later, she is now planning to divorce my son and is behaving as though he is a hired hand who has served his purpose. This is excruciatingly painful in itself but the fact that she still has my mother's ring is so upsetting. It has very little monetary value but to me, it is precious. What, if anything, should I do?

nanaej Wed 27-Jun-12 22:30:22

Hmm.. are their children girls or boys? If there is a GD perhaps you could ask that it is given to her? That way it stays connected to the you think she would do that? Suppose also that it depends on what your son said when he gave her the ring originally!
If they were happily together would you be expecting the ring to be returned at some point?

Anagram Wed 27-Jun-12 22:41:59

Oh dear, that's very sad, specki. I think if it had been me I would have asked my son for my mother's ring back straight after he had bought the 'real' engagement ring, but that's easy to say in retrospect. If your son isn't likely to be able to persuade his wife to surrender the ring, nanaej's suggestion is probably the best option. I know how you must feel, but try not to let it make you feel bitter.

specki4eyes Wed 27-Jun-12 22:52:11

Yes nana I thought of that but I know that their daughter would not cherish it. She is greatly indulged and has many boxes of trinkets - earrings, rings, watches, bracelets - most of which get thrown around and lost. That little ring would be utterly meaningless to her.
I don't know what he said to her when he gave her the ring - I should ask him, but he's so devastated by the way she is behaving, I don't want to add to his worries. Of course I was quite content that she had the ring - to me, it was symbolic of her being welcomed into our family. But now I fear that it will be cast aside just like my son has been.
It sounds as though I'm being vindictive - I hope not - I just worry that it will be casually slung out and I remember so vividly how my mother cherished it.

nanaej Wed 27-Jun-12 22:59:15

speckie I fully understand wanting the ring back and sympathise with you ..I was just wondering what the 'arrangement' was when the ring was first given to son and then to DiL

NannaJeannie Wed 27-Jun-12 23:04:49

speckie what have you got to lose by just asking her? If you ask politely, out of earshot of you DGC, you might just get it back. Otherwise she might end up selling it for the gold content, or giving it to the charity shop. Surely she is not going to want to keep it. I have my mothers wedding and engagement ring, and I do cherish them.

gracesmum Wed 27-Jun-12 23:32:28

I would certainly ask and expect her to agree. It is then up to you to keep it for a granddaughter or not in years to come.

whenim64 Wed 27-Jun-12 23:34:51

How about offering to replace it with something she would prefer, as a gesture? Surely, she would recognise that it has sentimental value? When I left my ex-husband, I also left personal gifts that had been given by his family for him to offer them back. I knew they would want them, knowing I was not going to want to use them.

Faye Thu 28-Jun-12 02:49:33

That is sad specki and you don't sound at all vindictive, sentimental possessions are important as they hold so many memories. I would also add when you get it back you should be deciding who you pass it on to. flowers

susiecb Thu 28-Jun-12 12:55:10

I would let it go both physically an metaphorically and concentrare on your son and grandchildren - its not helpful to cling onto things no matter what their sentimental attachment.

Ella46 Thu 28-Jun-12 13:08:01

I think this is a difficult situation unless you are on good terms with your dil. It's probably the last thing on her mind and might give the wrong impression if you ask for it back, however tactfully.
I would wait for exactly the right moment, which may take a long time. hmm

gillybob Thu 28-Jun-12 13:36:50

I agree with gracesmum I would ask for it back nicely by saying something like " I hope you don't mind but when I offered the ring to (sons name) i did it in the assumption that it would stay in the family and now circumstances have changed I would like to have it back so I can give it to GD when she is older"

Who could refuse?

Good luck specki

JessM Thu 28-Jun-12 13:37:41

I agree with susiecb.
Some of your pain is focussed on this at the moment - that is the kind of thing the mind does. I remember doing something similar when I was diagnosed with BC in my 40s. Got very angry with someone who was irrelevant.
The fact that the ring is associated with another loss in your life is maybe relevant?
I just passed on my mother's engagement ring to one of my nieces as she is the only one in the family who has the very small hands. Just occurred to me that big sis might have been miffed - but she was there and could have made a pitch for it. Funny how objects can matter isn't it. We attach emotion to them - but they are just objects.

specki4eyes Thu 28-Jun-12 22:01:45

I'm so grateful for all your very sound advice and opinions. Weighing it all up, I think I'll wait 'til my DS is of more of a sound mind and then ask him to explain the significance to her and ask for it's return. If by then it has already gone, I'll just have to accept it. Perhaps I'm at fault for giving it away in the first place. But I know my Mum would have understood my gesture and not have criticised it. She's always at my side. As are you all - thank you.

yogagran Thu 28-Jun-12 23:04:41

That's a difficult one specki, I completely understand your feelings regarding the ring. I, too, get very emotionally attached to "things" and I think that you should gently request that it be returned to you. I hope it all turns out well for you but right now you are going through great emotional trauma flowers

crimson Thu 28-Jun-12 23:27:55

Perhaps a well thought out letter saying how sad you feel about everything that has happened [miss out the bit about possibly wanting to rip her head off at this moment in time] and how you feel the need to have the ring with it being your mum's. If you leave it longer your relationship might deteriorate to the point that there is no contact at all. I do understand how you feel about it; reading this thread made me go and dig out my mum's wedding ring which I no longer wear [partly because I'm so scared of losing it if I do]. Symbolic things take on great importance at times such as this, and getting the ring back would be quite cathartic for you.

dizzyblonde Fri 29-Jun-12 04:53:26

I wear my Husband's Grandmother's engagement ring and would certainly offer it back if we ever split up. I love the ring but it belongs in the family. It is in my will to go to my elder son when I die.

susiecb Fri 29-Jun-12 11:52:06

I gave my mothers eternity ring to my daughter- the burglars took it! My daughter was safe that was what mattered.

HildaW Fri 29-Jun-12 15:42:25 have every right to feel very attached to this ring, I hope your DIL can see the justice in your request. It will all come down to the timing and the manner of the request. I do hope you get it resolved.
I have my Grandma's wedding ring that my Mum took to wearing after the dear old thing had died. I now have it and wear it with pride. I dont take it away on holidays abroad though as I would be so upset if it got lost.

specki4eyes Fri 14-Sep-12 19:11:22

update: the other night I got woke up in the middle of the night thinking of my son and his children and this horrible break up they are going through. I heard my phone vibrating in the bottom of my bag and got out of bed to switch it off. I couldn't resist checking the text though and it said, "I got Nannas ring back for you Mum". Bless him - I hadn't even mentioned it

Greatnan Fri 14-Sep-12 19:16:11

That is a great end to your sad story - you must be so relieved.

janeainsworth Fri 14-Sep-12 19:45:19

Your son sounds a lovely man specki flowers

Grannyknot Fri 14-Sep-12 20:50:08

What a happy ending specki you could write a short story about it. flowers

Grannyknot Fri 14-Sep-12 20:50:39

about the ring of course sorry for the marriage breakup.

glassortwo Fri 14-Sep-12 20:59:40

Back where it belongs specki smile