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!
This past weekend I participated in “My Sister’s” Pink Pajama Party, a dinner and fundraiser for the walk against women’s cancer. Cancer is such a horrible, evil disease. It affects so many people, too many people, with a stunning ripple effect. I have seen its personal devastation. I have been consumed by the ripples. My sister-in-law, Joanne found the lump in her breast in 1999. At the time she was young, healthy and was going to kick cancer’s ass. Sadly, we didn’t know it then but Joanne would not survive. It was seven years later when the summer faded and so too did our “angel” Joanne, as her body succumbed to the ravages of a ruthless disease.
During her illness and since her death in 2006 there have been many “find the cure” related activities and opportunities I could have participated in. I participated in very few of them. It’s fine for other people. It just never really sat well with me, my own personal issues. There was one event however that I have consistently been able to do and that is “My Sister’s” Pink Pajama Party. What makes this evening particularly special for me is the people I share it with. My mom, is the matriarch of the group and secures us tickets every year. I am able to attend with my fabulous sister. Then there is my brother’s wife, my “new” sister-in-law. While she’s no longer “new” I have yet to figure out exactly how to describe her when I am explaining about her and Joanne. She is one of the most gracious and kind people I know and has done so much to help us heal as a family. Not better. Not worse. Just different. We are lucky enough to have her crazy, wonderful sister join us and then rounding out our unique, little, sorority is my sister’s best friend, who has been around long enough, she might as well be a sister.
I feel so grateful when we get together. We can celebrate the ones who are gone. We can support “survivors” and we can hope for a cure. Plus there are laughs. Such big, belly laughs. It’s good for the soul to laugh that much. We have so much fun. Who doesn’t love a theme night where you get dressed up in your pjs to go out? Then THEY make dinner. There is dancing and prizes and did I mention fire fighters? Oh Yes! There are nekked fire fighters. Well, maybe not nekkid but they dance without shirts!
This year there was a table decorating theme. It’s amazing what you can do with a bunch of dollar store items.
We “pillaged” other tables and stole some of their table decorations by knife point, all in good fun of course. We even managed to nab us a fire fighter. The table next to us was having just as much fun watching us pillage and plunder. They decided to steal our whole centre piece… so we made them our crew! The company was great, the evening was fun and while cancer sucks and makes me mad and I miss Joanne, I am so happy to share this special night with my “sisters”.
Oh and just in case you thought I forgot about the firefighters…enjoy!