Ink to Remember

I'm writing you all on my phone, in the back room of a tattoo shop in Cleveland. An odd place to write from, and no, I'm not the one getting the tattoo… but my sister is. Her first. My nephew, her son, is apprenticing as a tattoo artist and is doing hers. This is in so many ways so very cool. Getting to be here for it and watch is something I'm grateful for… even though I've chickened out from getting one myself!

Sitting here, I am already dreaming of coming back for my first tattoo. I already know of two I want for certain.. both are memorials to Drew. I had decided to wait 5 years from his death and if I was still certain about one, I would get it. Well, I'm creeping I to six years now, and as coincidence would have it my nephew just moved to town to do tattoo work.. it seems like a sign.

So why not today? Well, for one, I want Mike to be here for the first one… I can think of nothing more meaningful than having my new guy by my side while I am getting a tattoo that honors my first guy. And he happens to be away backpacking this weekend. So for now, I’ll watch, and wait patiently. While waiting, I’m looking through ideas for matching tattoos that my sister and I want to get when she is in town next. My mind goes straight for it - death. The fact that this tattoo will be the reminder of her, or of me, to which ever one of us lives longer.

I hate that this is where my mind immediately goes because of all the death in my life. But it is what it is. Either way, sitting here with my family - whom I’ve always lived so far from - and getting to be part of this milestone, makes me happy. Makes me want to create more milestones together… as well as more ordinary memories.

This is one of the things that I’ve been so glad for since my life brought me to Ohio… living so much closer to my sister - who lives in upstate New York. It used to be years between our visits. Now it’s only months. As we both get older and I get increasingly aware of our own limited time on this earth, I become even more grateful for precious sister weekends like this.


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  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2018-05-01 03:41:17 -0700
    After Mike died, his daughter and I both got tattoos of owls, Mike’s totem animal, and ours as well. Hers was an ornate, beautiful, full shoulder work of art a friend of ours did, incorporating Mike’s eyes on the owl, and other details of him. For me, I took sketches of a line-drawn owl Mike doodled all over the place to that same friend…and we both had a pinch of his ashes incorporated into the ink. I had mine put over my heart, and there it will stay, forever. My only tattoo. For now. Xoxo