Lost ring finds way back to widow on anniversary of husband's death
'It was meant to be put back on my finger,' Brenda Shiels says after reunion with tiny gold ring
Thanks to the wandering ways of a curious six-year-old, Brenda Shiels was reunited with her husband's lost ring Tuesday, four years to the day since he passed away.
"It's like it was meant to be put back on my finger," Shiels said. "I know he's always still with me, even though he's not here."
Shiels married her husband in 1969. She had been wearing the gold wedding band that belonged to her husband every day since he died.
She didn't notice right away that it had fallen off at the annual Honey, Garlic and Maple Syrup Festival in Manitou, during the Sept. 9-10 weekend.
"He's gone, and I still had his ring and I was really sad when I lost it," Shiels said.
I didn't think it would, but I was there with a hope.- Laura Greenfield
Shiels, who lives 110 kilometres from Manitou, contacted Laura Greenfield, an organizer of the annual festival, hoping someone had turned in her ring.
It was a needle-in-a-haystack scenario, but the reunion was made possible with help from Greenfield and the aid of social media.
"I just thought, it's not going to hurt to try. If it's on land, before it gets covered by snow or feet or tire tracks, maybe, maybe it will be found," she said. "I didn't think it would, but I was there with a hope."
When Shiels discovered the ring was missing, she panicked and contacted the Manitou newspaper to place an ad, urging anyone who might have found the ring to contact her.
In addition to posting the ad, the newspaper's editor sent an email about Shiels' plea to the fesitval's committee members. A picture of the ring was included.
Greenfield was moved and posted a message on her Facebook page, under the heading "I'm going to give this a shot." She explained the situation and added, "I am hoping that if everyone shares this, perhaps someone has picked it up and this will lead them to the hurting owner."
Greenfield said she felt compelled to help because she could relate to Shiels.
"I wear jewelry that belonged to my own mom who passed away [and] a necklace from my brother, who passed away," she said.
"And I, myself, lost a very precious ring that my husband had given me. However, I still have him, and she has lost her husband and the ring."
Boy found ring
Some days passed but then Greenfield got a tug on her line.
Melissa McKay, a Manitou woman, contacted Greenfield to say her six-year-old son might have found the ring. It had been on the ground close to a portable handwashing station at the festival site.
McKay's son had stuffed it into his pocket, then remembered later and showed it to her. The newspaper ad and Greenfield's Facebook posting had not yet come out at that time.
His first comment was, 'She's not going to hug me, is she?' But I'm sure, by the time it's all said and done, yes, she will hug him.- Laura Greenfield
McKay said the ring was well worn and bent a bit. She didn't think anybody would be missing it, so she handed it back to her son.
But when she saw the notices a couple of days later, McKay got it back from her son.
Greenfield didn't want to get too excited, afraid of crashing back down if the ring didn't match the one in the photo sent by the newspaper. She got McKay to take a photo and sure enough, it looked like the one.
So she called up Shiels, her heart racing.
"I was afraid to call her, for fear it wasn't the ring," Greenfield said.
Shiels asked Greenfield to text her the photo from McKay. Then Greenfield waited for her call back.
"I paced the floor," she said, adding it was probably less than a minute but felt like much longer before Shiels called, jubilantly saying "It's the ring!"
"And we both fell apart," Greenfield said.
The women met Tuesday afternoon in Manitou, where McKay's son, Christian, presented the ring to Shiels.
While he said he was fine with giving up his treasure, Christian does have one concern, Greenfield said.
"His first comment was, 'She's not going to hug me, is she?' But I'm sure, by the time it's all said and done, yes, she will hug him."
Schiels said the anniversary of her husband's death has always been a sad day for her family, but thanks to Christian she had a smile on her face.
"I couldn't believe it," Shiels said.