I promised her.
I lived with my great grandmother from the time I was 11 until I left for college at 16. When I was only 12, her husband and the love of her life died and left the two of us alone. The day of his funeral, she pressed this ring into my small hand. It was the last gift he had ever given her - a wedding band - and for no special occasion other than the fact that he loved her. Until the day he died he always called her "his beautiful redheaded bride." She made me promise that I would never settle for less than what I deserved; that I would remember how much he loved her, and that I would always seek to bring happiness and beauty to other's lives the way he did to hers.
I wore the ring constantly for about eight or nine years. No small feat considering I have never had it properly sized (my fingers are very small), and it's still too big for me. It's been flung off my finger in the middle of a play in high school in the auditorium, dropped in the Carribean, gone down a kitchen drain, dredged through the garden, and finally I decided that I had nearly lost it so many times that I didn't need the physical reminder anymore. And in taking it off, I lost my promise to her.
I'm losing her right now to Alzheimer's, and it's utterly devastating me. Tonight, I slipped it back on, where I will keep it until she's completely gone. I wear it now because I need to remember, for her. For both of us.