Patrick Waddell, 43, was visiting his late wife’s family and vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with his two young daughters.
Waddell’s wife and his girls’ mother, Sheri, died in 2016 from colon cancer.
After her death, Waddell wore his late wife’s ring on his pinkie finger for a month, but could not get used to the feeling.
“I don’t know how ladies do it,” Waddell told TODAY. “It got caught and stuck on everything.”
So he hired a jeweler to solder the rings together and place them on a necklace, which he wore on a daily basis.
He was wearing the necklace when he went on vacation with his daughters MacKenzie, 11, and Madison, 8. But after renting a golf cart in South Myrtle Beach, Waddell noticed that his necklace was gone.
While some people may have reacted with panic and dismay over the loss, Waddell said he was not anxious about the whereabouts of his beloved wedding rings.
“I know that’s hard for some people to understand,” he said. “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.”
Waddell turned to social media and posted about the rings, figuring it was his best chance at getting them back.
Over 43,000 people saw and shared Waddell’s post, which meant a great deal to the single father.
“It’s just humbling to see so many people wanting to help you find something that means so much to you,” Waddell told CNN.
On July 30, a few days after losing his rings, Waddell received a phone call from Graham Golf Carts, telling him an anonymous family had found the rings and turned them in.
“God is great,” Waddell posted on social media, thanking everyone for helping him search for the sentimental jewelry.
“In God’s timing everything happens,” Waddell posted 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.”
Waddell said the rings appeared to have been run over several times, but he loves the flaws, equating them to real life and real marriage.
“The rings being damaged, that’s what it reminds me of. Nothing’s perfect. Nothing’s ever perfect,” he told CNN. “Every flaw that you have, it makes up who you are. You can’t just erase those flaws.”
“It’s just been a great story,” Waddell continued. “It’s so wonderful to talk about her again.”
“Sheri lit up a room. Everyone wanted to talk to her,” he told TODAY. “There isn’t a moment I don’t think about her in some way.”
Waddell told CNN that losing his rings was an incredible opportunity to tell people about his faith in God, who he knows is sovereign over all aspects of his life.
Though it had a happy ending, the misadventure has caused Waddell to reconsider wearing the rings around on a daily basis.
“I can’t bear the thought of losing them again,” he said.
Instead, he plans to display them in a shadow box inside his home for safekeeping.
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