One of my friends asked me why I had bought Lauren Elizabeth Kelley a claddagh ring instead of a more traditional engagement ring. The answer is quite simple—I bought the claddagh ring for Lauren Elizabeth Kelley because she is Irish and I wanted to respect her heritage and give her a traditional Celtic engagement ring.
In fact, during the week between June 22, 2011 and June 29, 2011, Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and I talked about her Claddagh ring and how, after we got married, it would be held in trust for our eldest daughter to have when she turned sixteen. When we got married, Lauren Elizabeth Kelley would give up the gold Claddagh ring I had given her and wear a custom, platinum and diamond Claddagh band I have been designing specifically for her.
This is a photo of a traditional Irish Claddagh ring, almost identical to the one I bought for Lauren Elizabeth Kelley last summer.
The Claddagh ring is a traditional symbol of love, friendship and loyalty. The design involves a pair of hands holding a heart topped by a crown. In recent times, the Claddagh ring has become both a symbol of Irish heritage as well as a symbol of love or friendship. The hands represent friendship. The heart represents love. The crown represents loyalty. I think that my actions of the last sixteen months have proven my friendship, love and loyalty to the red-haired, feisty, stubborn, Irish lass named Lauren Elizabeth Kelley.
I bought a Claddagh ring for Lauren Elizabeth Kelley out of my respect for her Irish heritage and my deep and abiding love for the amazing woman I love. To me, the ring symbolizes my commitment to Lauren Elizabeth Kelley—the woman I want to share my life with. The ring also represents the two decades of love, caring, devotion, loyalty and friendship that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and I have shared.
I wore Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s Claddagh ring the last time I saw her. I do not know if Lauren Elizabeth Kelley even realizes I was wearing it, but I was. To me, it is always going to be a symbol of the commitments, vows and promises I have made and kept to the beautiful, feisty, stubborn, smart, freckled, red-haired Irish woman I love. I wore it on my left hand, heart in—for as far as I am concerned—my commitment to Lauren Elizabeth Kelley has already been made.
The last time Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and I spoke, back on June 28, 2011, she asked to see the ring. I am fairly certain, had I not confronted her about her drinking the next day over text messages and private messages on Facebook, she would have accepted the ring when I brought it to show her as I had promised.
I do not think that she would have asked to see it if she wasn’t prepared to accept it—especially given that we had spent most of the previous week talking about subjects like what we would name our children, the fact that she adored Asians with freckles, where we would get married, when we would get married and so much more—basically every thing that had to do with our starting a life together.
According to her sister Bridget, Lauren Elizabeth had also basically told her mother and Bridget that I had asked Lauren Elizabeth to marry me. While Lauren Elizabeth never told me this, from what Bridget said, it was pretty clear what she had done. When I raised the subject with Sue myself a couple weeks later, she did not seem at all surprised.
I do not think it is a coincidence that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley stopped speaking to me when I confronted her about her drinking on June 29, 2011. From what I have learned in the past sixteen months, it isn’t all that unusual for an addict or alcoholic to push away the people they love most when confronted about their illness. Their loved ones are the people they want to hide the behavior and actions that their addictions make them do because they are ashamed.
As I understand it, addiction or alcoholism does not change who a person is fundamentally—their values, morals, beliefs, and such are all essentially unchanged. What the addiction does do is radically alter their behavior—often violating the addict’s fundamental values and beliefs in order to get the drug their addictions require. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is still the devout Catholic woman I love that is one of the most honest people I have ever known. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is still the amazing, gracious, compassionate, smart and strong woman that loves me.
However, her addictions are why she has lied and done so many things that were Lauren Elizabeth Kelley healthy, she would be disgusted and ashamed of doing. I think that the fundamentally honest person that is my beloved is the very reason why Lauren Elizabeth Kelley has refused to even acknowledge me or speak to me since she started to push me away and tried to lie to isolate me from her family. I believe that as long as Lauren Elizabeth Kelley can tell herself that she has never lied to me, she can convince herself that she has not betrayed me or broken faith with me. It is the sliver of honesty that she clings to amidst the horrors of her addictions.
That is one reason why I can not, will not, hold the actions and lies her addictions have made her do and tell against the amazing woman I love. I do not believe it is truly my Lauren Elizabeth Kelley that has said and done those things by her choice, but because her addictions forced her to do so. That is why I stand by my commitments to Lauren Elizabeth Kelley—the amazing woman I love.
God Bless you Lauren Elizabeth.
May God watch over you and protect you from all harm—even that you cause yourself.
I hope God gives you the strength to fight your addictions and the wisdom to see the truth about what the alcohol and drugs are doing to you.
I pray that God grants you the serenity and peace you will need to love yourself once again and to forgive yourself for the things your addictions have made you do.
I ask that God helps you find your way back to being the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, feisty, stubborn, strong, and devout woman He wants you to be.
Finally, may He grant you the ability to see yourself as I do and let you remember who we are to each other; let you remember the years of friendship, love and devotion we once shared; and give you the strength to make amends so we can start the future together we talked about last June.
All this in Jesus’s name I pray.