For the month after he lost his wife Sheri to colon cancer in 2016, Patrick Waddell wore her wedding ring on his pinky finger. That is, until it kept getting caught on things.
“I don’t know how ladies do it,” Waddell, 43, told Today.
So, the North Carolinian had a jeweler solder both of their wedding rings and create a necklace. "I needed to keep them together," he explained, adding that he planned to wear it forever.
Fast forward to last weekend when the clasp came loose. The single dad was vacationing in Myrtle Beach with his daughters, MacKenzie, 11, and Madison, 8, when he realized that the necklace was no longer around his neck.
Surprisingly, Waddell didn’t panic.
“I know that’s hard for some people to understand,” he told Today. “But Sheri lives in my heart. I love my rings, but if I never found them, it’s not like I lost her. You got to let go and let God. I just knew they would find their way back.”
Still, Waddell turned to Facebook for help.
“If anyone picked them up, I can’t begin to tell you what it would mean to get them back,” he wrote alongside a photo of the two soldered rings which quickly received more than 44,000 shares.
“My rings have been found!” Waddell announced. “Slightly run over, but still together none the less. God is great! I don't know who you are, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Waddell, who told Today that he plans to keep the rings in a shadow box in his home going forward, believes he lost the rings for a reason: to give him a chance to talk about Sheri and her “contagious” smile.
“In Gods timing everything happens,” he wrote on Facebook. “Not always at the rate of speed we may like, not always the outcome we like, but for His glory at all times.”
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And as for the damage the rings sustained? Waddell says it makes him love them even more.
“The rings are like a marriage. They're real. They aren't perfect, but every flaw tells a story,” he concluded. “In all the highs and all the lows, the journey is what molds the partnership and all the imperfections make them perfection.”