My mom hated tattoos. Hate is a strong word, but those were her exact words. She couldn’t understand why someone would permanently put something on their body – the greatest gift from God – when they could just as easily (and more economically) get a piece of jewelry to represent it instead. Like many things in this “new normal,” her words have taken on new meaning.
I’ve been listening to a grief relief CD by Maureen Hancock that my sister recently received after she went on a retreat weekend with her best friend to see Hancock speak. She told me she “won” the disc because she was the one in her group who had experienced the most recent loss. Hell of a way to win something, but, it was because she “needed it most.” Makes sense.
Within the fifty seven minutes of dialogue, Hancock says something to the effect of some family members will get a tattoo of their loved one… some families even allow their younger children and teenagers get one because it’s like their scar, their battle wound… this really resonated with me.
Whether you wear ink or jewelry, I feel the purpose is the same: you want to express yourself and give others an opening to a conversation. In this world, our need for human connection is so real. Sometimes this is hard to admit and even harder to foster, but our jewels and body art are an easy way to invite others in without saying anything.
Not only that, but these things can help remind the wearer of who they are, where they’ve been, or where they’re going.
I took what my mom said into consideration. I purchase jewelry instead getting inked… but I did eventually getting the tattoo version. While I have found something I feel connected enough to to put on my body, it is not something I got to share with people, they are reminders for myself.
Since our mom’s passing, the five of us have expressed how it’s a no brainer that we won’t be getting a tattoo in memory of our mom. She would have hated it and it would definitely not honor her memory. Had she not told us so candidly and honestly and so often her feelings on this topic, the outcome may have been different. But this was important to her; it mattered a lot.
This also gives me extra comfort because it furthers the idea that she doesn’t want this life turning event to define us. It is a part of who we are, but not all of who we are. She would want us to rise from the pain and despair into better versions of ourselves to the glory of God.
My battle scars are beautiful. I have love notes and thoughtful trinkets from so many dear friends and family.
These are my tattoos for this season of my life.