“Mom, when I turn 18 I'm going to get a tattoo!” Hannah announced.
“Hannah, what would you possibly want permanently inked on your body that you won't be embarrassed about when you're 80??”
Being a parent we always hope our children won't do something they regret in their future life, but I may be partly at fault for this one. While I didn't have a tattoo at the time, Hannah and I got into the habit of watching a tv show called Miami Ink. I have to admit I was amazed at the intricate artwork these guys did but at the same time wondered what possessed people to have massive amounts of so called “body art” on their person. I mean sometimes they look just plain nasty!
I don't know how much time passed between the time Hannah made that statement and when she died, and she was never able to get that tattoo. In those first years after they pass time isn't relevant anymore, blocks of time fade into oblivion when nothing matters anymore. I do remember that very shortly after her death I “understood” why people got tattoos and I had to get one “for her”. It made sense to me at the time that it would be one of the few things I could still do for her and, in a way, for me too, one last thing we could share.
The design came easy as with designing her headstone, each property of the tattoo had to mean something. I went to the tattoo parlor with hopes the artist would bring it to life the way I wanted it to be seen. I sat in the chair a bit apprehensively as he prepped my forearm, not my bicep where it could easily be hidden from the public. I chose this location so it could be seen by anyone and everyone, why? Because people would ask about it and I would be able to talk about her, Hannah was here on this earth, she mattered and it's my job to keep her memory alive. Part way into the process the artist asked me if it hurt to which I answered, “not near as much as her death”.
I left the salon with Hannah permanently emblazoned on my arm for the world to see. A heart with her name in a beautiful script inside with a rosebud through it, Rose is her middle name. A rosebud is symbolic of a young life that ended too soon.
A few years later I went back for an addition to the design. A crown of thorns around the perimeter of the heart to show that her death will always hurt...