I lost my diamond wedding ring while walking our dog, Charlie, one day in our neighborhood. After 3 months of searching, and with the support of an entire community, a tiny miracle happened.
October 16, 2008
My now-husband proposed to me with the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even know he bought it, and when I saw it, I actually remember thinking, “I could not have picked a better ring for myself than the one he picked for me.” It was that perfect.
I didn’t understand the need for a second band because I had so much more than I ever wanted or needed! I just didn’t see the point in having a second ring. So to me, it was my wedding ring for the first few years of our marriage and I couldn’t have been happier.
About 3 years into our marriage, Ryan took me on a walk and surprised me with a second ring, a hand-made wedding band he purchased from the artist who made it. On the inside it said (and says) “happily ever after”. Again, I thought it was so perfect and so beautiful that I couldn’t have picked a better ring myself. I’ve since called it my wedding band, and I’ve worn both rings so proudly on my hand every day since.
I’m not the kind of person who loses things. I very rarely lose anything, and if I misplace something, it’s not more than a few minutes before I find it. Everything has a place.
For my wedding ring, its place is on my finger. If it’s not on my finger, it’s on my nightstand while I sleep because my hands swell up at night. So I take my rings off and put them back on in the morning after swelling goes down.
That’s it. Seeing my ring anywhere else gives me anxiety.
May 21, 2015, 9:00pm-ish
Ryan and I got home from a date night and watched a few episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm before going to bed. I remember falling asleep on the couch and crashing pretty hard (it was a long day), and I vaguely remember Ryan trying to wake me up to go upstairs to bed. I remember standing by the couch, trying to take my rings off but my hand was swollen and I had a hard time. I remember brushing my teeth upstairs, feeling half asleep, trying to get my rings off again outside of the bathroom (because I’m paranoid about dropping them in the sink or toilet, I stepped into the hallway to do this). I don’t remember anything after that. I don’t remember where I finally took them off, when I did, or putting them on my nightstand.
Friday, May 22
I woke up, did the morning routine, and walked our dog, Charlie, through the neighborhood. It wasn’t a long walk, maybe 30 minutes, round-trip. I hadn’t even thought about my rings at that point because I knew they were on my nightstand! …where they are every morning.
When I got home from our walk, I emptied my pockets and that’s when I found my wedding band in my front pocket.
My wedding band. In my front pocket.
WHY. Why is my band in my pocket? And, where’s my wedding RING??? Oh my God…
I knew right away something was wrong.
I checked my pockets. Nothing. I went upstairs. I checked my nightstand where I expected to see it. Nothing.
I felt a lump in my throat starting to form. I checked the couch, I checked in the couch. Under the couch, in our bathroom on the shelves, in our bed, under our bed. Every surface I could possibly think of that I maybe touched earlier the night before or that morning… Nothing.
My ring wasn’t inside our place, and I knew it.
I stopped, and thought:
If my band was in my pocket, at some point my ring was in my pocket, too – because I always take my rings off together. And if my ring isn’t in our place, I must have clipped it with my keys while taking them in and out of my pocket sometime along our walk. And it must be outside somewhere, along the route…
Sometimes, to readjust my grip on Charlie’s leash and other things I’m carrying, I take things in and out of my pocket during our walk (ID, phone, keys, dog bags). And I remembered doing that a few times on our walk that morning: I took my keys in and out of my pocket a few times.
…Oh my God, I clipped it with my keys…Oh my God, it can be ANYWHERE.
It wasn’t that long of a walk, but when you have no idea when or WHERE along the route this happened, and there’s an endless amount of grass patches, bushes, vines, rocks and stones, cracks in the ground, DRAINS, plants and weeds – on both sides of the sidewalk – all of a sudden, that walk turned a massive search area and I knew it.
Annnnd that’s when I started to lose my mind.
In denial this was happening, I quietly walked back outside. I slowly started checking our grass, the plants, vines, bushes, dirt, and all the other surroundings by our place. Nothing. I couldn’t bring myself to go back inside. I just kept walking slowly, wobbly, looking down the whole time… then I started tearing up, thinking the worst.
When I got to the first intersection of our walk, I suddenly realized I wasn’t 100% sure of where exactly I just went with Charlie. I walk a different combination of streets every day with Charlie. What streets did I take this morning? Where did I cross? Did I take my keys out of pocket here? Up there maybe?
I knew I needed to stay focused on remembering where I went, in case I was right about clipping my ring with my keys. I just needed to get down where I was exactly that morning before I started searching for it. I knew I needed to focus but every time I saw another person, I couldn’t help but ask them: “Have you by chance seen a ring?” They just looked at me weird and said, “No, I’m sorry…” and if they asked anything about it, I’d just start crying, explaining, “It’s my wedding ring and I think I lost it.” It was the ugliest-looking walk I’ve ever taken but I ended up being able to retrace my route, down what side of the street I was on the whole time.
I made a map as soon as I got home so I wouldn’t forget.
I went back to turning our place upside-down, looking everywhere, double checking, triple checking, quadruple checking the couch and everywhere it could have possibly been. Nothing. I started crying uncontrollably and I couldn’t stop. I’m not even a crier, what the heck?!
I finally called Ryan after I tried to pull myself together a bit. He was out fly fishing the whole time and I wanted to be absolutely sure it was lost before I told him, since there was nothing he could really do at the time anyway. He tried to calm me down and tell me it was OK, that worst case, we had insurance on it, but he could tell it didn’t matter to me at that point. I just wanted to find it.
I kept searching our place.
I walked the route again, trying not to cry while I asked more people if they had seen my ring.
I started making a poster and writing a recap of what happened to post on basically every social media site I could think of. And then I started thinking the worst again: What if someone already found it and they want to pawn it?? I honestly didn’t believe anyone would, and I really feel that most people are such good people. But I needed to cover the bases and give them a reason NOT to pawn it. So I added a $750 reward to the top and also figured, maybe ONE kid will see that and be inspired to look, which would be one more person out there helping me find it. That right there would be worth it to me.
I posted the map and a quick recap of what happened to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, blatantly asking people to help me search the area.
I made a bunch of copies of the map and paper-clipped them to each poster thinking, in case anyone was even interested in looking – all they had to do was take a map right then and there. I never expected strangers to take a map but again, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try! And I figured I should make it as easy as possible for them to look, if they did try. So I stapled posters with maps all throughout the route that night.
When I got home, I followed up on social media posts and comments, remembered to eat, and as soon as Ryan got home around 10:30, finally went to bed.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
My eyes had giant bags under them when I woke up. I walked the same route again with Charlie. Still nothing.
With other people’s recommendations, I also posted to: Reddit, the Craigslist Lost and Found section, Nextdoor – Queen Anne, The Queen Anne View, and I kept an eye on new listings to OfferUp, in case someone found it and tried to sell it there.
I also went back out to grab Charlie’s poop bag from our neighbors’ trash, per a Redditer’s suggestion to check it. He’s not the type of dog to eat anything besides dog food but I checked anyway, and I have to say: there’s nothing more disappointing than checking your dog’s crap and still coming up empty-handed. Twice. (I did this the next day, too.)
I also reached out to volunteer metal detecting specialist, Mark Kulseth of Cascade Treasure Club. He was at a Metal Detecting convention when I called him – he takes this stuff very seriously – but said he could come out sometime later that weekend. I couldn’t believe he was willing to drive all the way out and volunteer his time to help me look.
Throughout the day, phone calls and emails were coming in from total strangers, asking if I had found my ring yet. And if I hadn’t, they told me when they would be able to search the route, and that they would keep in touch if they found it. I couldn’t believe it.
Mike Baker, an investigative reporter for The Seattle Times, called me later that morning. He said he saw one of my posts on social media, that he also lost his wedding ring before so he knew how I felt, and asked if he could write a story about what happened to help me spread the word about the search. Again, why not. I had nothing to lose and if his story got even one more person interested in helping me look, I would happily take it. We did a quick interview over the phone and he posted the story later that day: Seattle woman distributes search maps, offers reward for lost wedding ring
— Sarah Weeger (@sarahweeger) May 24, 2015
That afternoon, King 5 News called me. A reporter there said she had just seen my story in the Seattle Times, their affiliate company, and that she would like to send a photographer out that night, in an hour if possible, to share my story even further. I was a little more hesitant this time but again, I figured the more people that could help me look, the better my chances were of finding my ring. So I sucked it up and got ready for the camera.
The story aired that night, and more phone calls and emails came through. It was unbelievable.
While searching the route again, I noticed some of the maps had already been pulled from behind the posters so people could use them to search the route. It was such a cool thing to see and know people cared enough to take a map and keep an eye out. I also met a few neighbors with similar stories about losing their something-valuable and finding it months or even years later. Meanwhile friends and family were sharing their stories and support as well through social media.
The response from the Reddit community especially, blew me away.
Not only were people willing to take the time to read my story and offer their support and ideas, they were actually out there searching the route, trying to help someone they’d never met find something that meant the world to her. No questions asked, they just came out to search the area. It was incredible and so completely heart-warming, I couldn’t believe it. It gave me so much hope to keep looking every chance I had, because I truly believed that we would all work together to find this ring that meant so much to me. It made me so proud to live in this community and so grateful to be a part of it.
Saturday, through the Next Few Weeks
More strangers came out looking, and offered more support and hope than I ever imagined. It honestly got me choked up when I stepped back and looked at it all. I was missing my ring like crazy but part of me felt so content and fulfilled, knowing there are so many good people in the world and I got to meet a whole bunch of them in this crazy-unfortunate event.
Like my neighbor Sammy and his dad, Jon.
There were multiple occasions when I was either walking the route with Charlie, or looking through our living room window, that I saw a person or people walking slowly with their heads down, map in hand, and searching for my ring. Sometimes they had grabbed one of my maps, and others even printed a copy at home and drove out to the area to walk the route! Every time I saw someone, I couldn’t help but walk (or run!) over to them, introduce myself, and thank them so much for helping me look.
Not one person expected anything in return. And I never expected that kind of help. It was unbelievable.
I wanted to hug every person I talked to, and thank them for giving me hope, especially when I needed it!
Sunday, May 24
Ryan pulled our bathroom sink apart and checked the drain. Nothing.
I walked the route again.
I kept checking social media and responding to everyone’s posts. I started feeling disappointed by the fact that I couldn’t yet say, “I found it!” because it was like everyone had formed this team around me and finding my ring, I didn’t want to let them down and I just REALLY wanted to find it already.
Mark came over with his metal detector. I had SO MUCH HOPE that we would find it. Before he got to our place, I honestly figured it was really just a matter of time, that with a metal detector there was nowhere my ring could escape.
3 hours later, and after I-don’t-even-know-how-many false alarms, the batteries in his detector started dying. We quickly went through the last part of the route, still with nothing, and as we got closer to our home, the lump in my throat started coming back and I started thinking, “if someone with a metal detector can’t find it, how am I supposed to find it??”
After about 4 hours, Mark left and my ring was still nowhere to be found. I know Mark and I did the very best we could, but I felt more deflated, I think, than when I lost it.
An hour later, another unknown number called and it was the first time I intentionally let go to voicemail. I just wasn’t hopeful I’d find it. I was down, and I didn’t want someone to hear that if they were about to help me search. It ended up being another local reporter for KOMO4 News, who called and left a message about filming my story. She sounded so sweet and genuinely interested in helping me, for which I was so grateful. But I just didn’t feel right about doing another story.
Monday, May 25
Tuesday, May 26
I saw another girl outside of our place looking for my ring. I went outside to thank her and she said a prayer with and for me that I’d envision where my ring was by the time we ended the prayer. I couldn’t envision it.
Throughout the Week
I walked the route and kept searching our place between work hours.
Saturday, May 30
Ryan talked me into golfing with him to take my mind off the ring and spend some good time together. I was so glad we did. Especially because I planned on getting after it again the next day. :)
Sunday, May 31
After wondering all week, “did Mark and I check everything?” And after seeing a number of spots along the route that we didn’t scan with the detector, I convinced myself of renting another one and checking again myself. I wanted to KNOW I checked every inch so that, at the very least, I could stop thinking about all the places it might have been. I could finally just know for sure.
I rented probably the crappiest metal detector known to man from a local company I won’t mention by name (I didn’t know it was bad when I checked out) and spent the day searching.
Eight hours and a rad sunburn later, I came up empty-handed. Again.
That same day, however, I did meet a few more neighbors of mine – a sweet husband and wife who heard my obnoxious metal detector from their backyard. They peered over the fence to see where the beeping was coming from and said, “you’re not the girl who lost her ring are you?” I said, “yeahhhhhhhh….” and told them the whole story. They were so sweet and wished me luck before I went home to Ryan for dinner and that was that.
I also posted this, knowing the part about moving on was a lie :)
I met Kay-Lynn and her sister while they were out looking for my ring.
I saw the sweet couple again as I was taking some of the posters down around the neighborhood. I had still planned on searching myself but when the wife asked why I was taking the posters down I told her, I was starting to feel guilty taking up other peoples’ time. She said, “but what if someone finds it? How will they get in touch with you?? You should leave them up.” So I left a few up, and somehow, they stayed up for over another month.
I also ran into Sammy and Jon again, and took them up on their offer to borrow their metal detector, and searched off and on with it for weeks during my lunch breaks.
Late July – Early August
When things settled down a bit, and I finally started accepting the fact that it might be lost forever, we finally started a claim with our insurance company to get a replacement ring.
We had no idea how much time would be involved in replacing something valuable through insurance. It took HOURS and DAYS that mostly my husband spent, coordinating with our insurance agent about what happened. Filing the paperwork, figuring out what’s covered, what isn’t, setting up a consultation with the jeweler, meeting with them a few times, choosing the replacement setting, new policy, and so on…I can’t thank Ryan enough for handling all of this and spending so much time to get it right!!!
We settled on a ring that was almost identical to the original. Both of us were happy and relieved to be done with the whole process. And thankfully, all we had to pay for was the jeweler’s consultation fee.
They said if we ever found the original, they would ask that we’d return one of the rings and basically nothing else would happen (no additional fees or credits, etc. since the replacement cost the same). It was a no-brainer to us: we would keep the original and return the replacement.
August 13th and 14th
Heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightening hit Seattle. I pictured my ring going down a drain somewhere, if it hadn’t already.
Monday, August 17th
I picked up my new ring. I picked it up on my own since Ryan was at work, which was weird, and it was very bittersweet. Something about it just felt so odd, and I didn’t want to mention it yet to friends or family. But I was happy to have a ring again!
Tuesday, August 18th
I returned the third metal detector I used to Sammy and his dad. I didn’t want to let it go, but the search needed to be over, and I told myself I should be so grateful for all that’s happened in all of this, and I should be so grateful we had insurance and that my ring was replaced!
Thursday, August 20th, 7:25am
In an effort to do what I told myself to do on Tuesday, I posted a photo update about my new replacement ring.
It was the first time I truly felt my search was over. I told myself it had to be, and I truly was grateful for the ring that was on my finger…
A Few Hours Later
..but I still wanted to search the route. Just one more time. Or at least that’s what I told tell myself every day I walked it – “Just one more time!”
Charlie and I went out for a walk and I gave it another, unofficial effort to find my original ring.
As I rounded the sweet couple’s house on the corner and started admiring their garden like I always do, I looked ahead and saw something that looked like a piece of metal, just off the edge of the sidewalk, and sort of pushed up against the brick line of their planter. It was a few steps ahead of me, in an area I had already searched with THREE different metal detectors and who knows how many times in addition to that. It was sitting where the wind naturally piles leaves and other things.
For the first month it was missing, I checked every. single. thing. that resembled a diamond or piece of white gold. Every single thing gave me instant hope that it could’ve been my ring, so I immediately checked to see if it was.
Every single bottle cap, gum wrapper, old screw or nail head…every tiny piece of broken glass sitting in the gutter… every snail’s path glistening in the sunlight…that certain, shiny type of mineral in a rock that would shine in someone’s driveway or walkway… I have grown to slightly HATE all of these things, because they’ve all taken the shape of a letdown, hundreds of times over!!!
After that first month of checking every single thing, and for the next 2 months, I made it a habit to tell myself: “whatever it is, it’s NOT my ring.” Because it never was! And I’m sure that sounds lame but in all honesty, emotionally, it became easier to tell myself that and to keep walking. So I did.
Except I’d always turn back after a few steps and check, to be sure.
I REALLY almost didn’t go back this time. I had already walked about 20 steps – usually it’s only 4 or 5 – before the familiar thought kicked in: What if it IS your ring?? It probably isn’t, but you’re going to kick yourself later if you don’t check.
So, for about the 500th time, I yanked a stubborn Charlie backwards so I could check and know for sure.
Whatever it was, it didn’t even look like a ring and it was almost completely covered in dirt. So I started leaning over to brush it off.
And then I saw a metal prong.
I saw another one.
I leaned further down to brush the dirt off of it.
And that’s when I saw it.
Barely, I saw the white gold of the band.
I saw another prong! I saw the DIAMOND!!!
I squatted down and picked it up immediately…”Oh my GOD.”
I stood up, blew on it, held it in front of me with both hands, and just stared at it wide-eyed, like it was Baby Simba in gem form.
All I could say was a quiet “Oh. My God.” Over and over. And “Oh holy sh–.”
The lump in my throat came back but this time with happy tears, and I could not believe what I was looking at. I just started shaking. It was the grossest, dirtiest, oldest-looking piece of jewelry I think I’ve ever seen in my life. I could hardly recognize the diamond underneath all of its dirt and I’m pretty sure there was a cobweb growing underneath it, with a fine, crooked hair stuck inside a prong to top it all off.
And it was absolutely PERFECT.
As disgusting as it was, it was the most beautiful ring I had ever seen in my entire life. Even better than the day Ryan proposed to me with it.
I just kept shaking and tearing up, smiling as big as my face could handle.
Thinking I would definitely want to remember this day and exactly where I found it, I squatted back down and put it right back where I found it, brushed a little dirt back over it, and tried to keep my shaking hand still for a photo.
“Oh my God. Oh MY GOD, I FOUND IT!!!” I looked around for another human being to share the very moment with and just said, “Charlie, LOOK!!!”
Still shaking in disbelief, I called Ryan’s phone right away (he was at work) and as soon as he answered, I just smiled and got choked up even more and said, “I found my ring.”
He was quiet… :) He just paused and said, “You’re kidding.”
I started laughing because I knew right away he was probably 40% happy and thrilled I found it, and about 60% pissed that we just spent alllll this time with insurance and the jewelers getting the replacement ring!!! I mean, I just so happened to post about the replacement ring that morning.
I called my mom and when she picked up she tried to tell me she was on the other line with my Aunt Reenie and would have to call me back. But I blurted out through happy tears:
– Mom, I found my ring!!!
– I found my RING!
– ….Reen, I gotta call you back!!!
Both of us:
– Ahhhhhhhh!!!!! :)
I texted my whole family to tell them, and laughed as I hit send.
At that point, some lady walked by me with her dog and assuming she saw me crying happy tears, I figured she’d want an explanation. Or maybe not, but I started spewing the whole story to her anyway, waving my left hand around. She either thought I was crazy and didn’t know what to say, or was thrilled for me and didn’t know what to say. I don’t know but I’m going with the latter.
I couldn’t walk home yet for some reason. I just kept pacing back and forth along the sidewalk, smiling, and saying “Oh my God… I can’t believe it…” I took a few more photos.
Then I went and knocked on the sweet couple’s door. I didn’t expect anyone to be home but she answered! I said, “I don’t know if you remember me from a few months back but-” Charlie immediately tried to show himself into their house and she thought it was cute, so she started petting him and asking about him and his breed while I was just waiting for an opening in the conversation like a normal adult. Except I couldn’t take it any longer. I interrupted, “I found my ring!!! I just found it in your garden!!!!” She smiled immediately and said, “No WAY!!! I gotta tell my husband!”
She also said she had recently worked out in the garden, and we were both thinking, maybe she shifted the dirt around just enough to push the ring to the edge of the sidewalk. In any event, I still could not believe I had found it.
I didn’t even want to clean it when I got home. I just wanted to wear it and savor the feeling of having it back on my finger after all these months.
I ended up cleaning it a few hours later (Ryan was right; we had to make sure everything was OK with it, take photos of it for insurance, and tell them what happened). I cleaned it twice, it so dirty. And it still wasn’t shiny.
Later that afternoon, we emailed our insurance agent and the jeweler and told them what happened.
Friday, August 21st – The Next Day
I returned the replacement ring to the jeweler and had them clean my original. :)
To the Queen Anne community, to every single person who inquired about what happened, wished me luck, and shared their stories, and especially to every single person who volunteered their time to search: THANK YOU. You gave me hope my ring would be found, and hope is what kept me looking for it!