Not Your Father’s Tattoo

Long gone are the days of tattoos being reserved for the military and bikers or for the under belly of society. They have slowly, quietly and consistently made their way into the mainstream. Some body ink is pure artistic beauty. Others, well, they could use a little help. Most tell a story of course – themes of courage, adversity, celebrations and memorials are so common now as they weave their way encircling our skin that we are not shocked by their presence on all sorts of people.

I never really considered a tattoo in my youth. I didn’t think they were bad a thing but I suppose just not my thing. Growing up my Dad had a tattoo on his forearm. It was a youthful lark, without much forethought – it was a heart with an arrow through it and it said “MOM.” He has since had it corrected embellished from its faded, fuzzy outline to a colourful sunburst. Not until I was *ahem* older with kids of my own and with the illness, then death of my sister-in-law did I really consider getting one for myself.

YummyMummyClub.ca asked for submissions for Mom’s with tattoos and their stories. There are hundreds of stories, more likely thousands of stories but here is mine:

I have two tattoos. Each is very significant and important to me. I claim one as “mine” and the other is Joanne’s. Joanne was my sister-in-law. She was a young, beautiful woman I had known since I was 11. She was more like a cherished older sister than an in-law. Joanne battled and succumbed to the evil of breast cancer after a 7 year fight. and fight she did until the bitter, bitter end. She left behind my brother and 3 children. She was 41.

The pain associated with the unfairness of her illness and the eventuality of her death was life altering for me. I wanted a way to connect with her even though she was gone. It took me a long time to find something that was meaningful enough to represented her. I settled on Celtic knot butterfly wings, to celebrate her Irish background and the transformation and freedom imagery joined on the body of the pink ribbon symbol. This September marks the 6th anniversary of her death, but Joanne’s tattoo is a reminder of a life never forgotten.

I got my tattoo at the same time I got Joanne’s. I needed to get something for myself, to balance the sorrow. The spiral is an ancient symbol represented in almost all past cultures. To some it represents life force or motherhood. I chose this symbolism to represent me and my two crazy, beautiful, wonderful girls that I have always affectionately called, my “girlies.” A double spiral—two swirlies, for my girlie whirlies!

You can check out more stories here:

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/family/mummy/20121004/ymc-rethinks-ink-we-love-tattoos Do you have a tattoo? What is it? Tell me your story!

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Posted on April 8, 2013, in family, kids and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Your tattoos are beautiful and meaningful. I’m sorry to hear about your sister in law….life is very unfair sometimes. 😦

    • Thank you so much. Life is so very unfair. I try to teach that to our girlies so they will have the strength to keep going through hard times. I also try hard to appreciate the little things hence my “daily awesomes” find humour and pleasure in the ordinary because even those things are special. Thanks for reading!!

  2. Hey I love your tattoos. That’s a really moving story, I have a lot of respect for you decided to get a tattoo that means so much to you, not just a fad like a lot of people!

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