Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just Like a Tattoo

It's getting easier. Does that mean I'm being disloyal to my daughter's memory?

This month the 3rd passed without a single tear. Up until now, each 3rd of the month resulted in my complete and utter meltdown of tears and sometimes even screams. When did I turn this corner, I wonder. When did the tears turn into memories? I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment, because then I might be able to better help some other mother going through the same thing.

I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating: grief is not linear. I don't expect that there will be a straight line from here to a lifetime of no tears over Stef. I expect I'll shed many more tears.

On April 3rd, it will be one year since I got the news of her passing. I say it that way, because she actually died on the 2nd, judging by her condition. I will always know she died that day when I had the dream about her. It was her coming to say goodbye to me, so I know that on some level, she knew exactly how much I loved her - and still do. On that day, I am planning to be getting a tattoo. I have to find a good shop that will give me an appointment for that day, preferably around noon, when I got the news. The pain of the needle going into my skin will remind me of the pain I felt in my heart that day. The design is going to be of an open heart with a little swoosh on the top. If I think I can bear it, her name and birth/death dates will also be on my shoulder. I will bleed, because she can't anymore. I will suffer, because she is no longer suffering. I will commemorate her.

Tattoos were a point of contention between us. She wanted to get one before she turned 18, but I refused to sign the consent. When she turned 18, she got a large full-chest tattoo of her own artwork. Later, she added pink birds to the back of her neck, pink and blue bubbles around her bikini line, a symbol of The Umbrella Corporation (from Resident Evil) on the inside of one elbow, a drawing from one album of Holy Molar (a noise-rock band from LA) behind her knee (ouch!), and a large tattoo on each hip - one said Mom and the other said Dad. Take from that whatever meaning you will. I don't know if she had more, but I wouldn't doubt it. She was really into body art and piercing, even body modification (though I don't think she did any of it). She had large ear plugs plus cartilage piercings, and she had a septum piercing. "Did you sneeze?" I asked; "I snotted all over the guy," she said.

My daughter had her own style, but she knew that tattoos weren't part of mine. It would amuse her to think of me getting a tattoo in her honor, but I can't think of a better thing to do on the one year anniversary of her death. I will carry that tattoo with me to my own cremation chamber, living with that memory on my shoulder every day.

Of course I love and miss her, but it's getting easier. It had to.

Peace - D

9 comments:

Ms Hen said...

Wow..it is not even a year. You have been through so much.. You do sound Strong...

What you said about a parent never truly recovering from a lost of a child.. that sounds true.. we don't want to outlive our children..

But I think she would be happy to see her mom getting stronger...

She would want you to live the best possible life.

I believe that when you die you are not in any physical or emotional pain anymore.. it is the Earth People that are still in struggles..

wishing you the very best... and to be kind to yourself always.

HEATHER said...

Don't know if you know this or not, but some people use the ashes of their loved ones mixed in with the tattoo ink.
Since Stephanie loved body art, I can only imagine that she would be thrilled to know you are getting one. Peace!

Leslie: said...

One of my daughters is also into tattoos and even had those thick earrings (5 of them). But now she's removed all but one earring. But she still wants more tattoos. The first one she got at age 19, a tasteful Canadian flag on her ankle, then she got a heart with "Daddy" on it on her upper back to commemorate him, and so it goes on...I don't know how many she has now.
Get your tattoo - I think it's something you need to do but I don't think you need to worry about whether Stef loved you all - she did.
It took me 5 years to finally admit that I could go on after my husband killed himself. I will always remember the 5th anniversary of his death, waking up that morning and saying, "Okay, God, I think I can make it now." As you say, grief/mourning is not linear. One day you will realize that the day has passed and you didn't think about her...yes, it can happen. I felt guilty the first time that happened, but then I knew that I was alive again. You will be, too. In time.

Syd said...

I think that life resumes in a positive way after so much grief. It is good that you are moving forward with Stephanie in your heart.

Cloudia said...

Honor her and yourself by healing, dear.


Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

RiverPoet said...

My readers never fail to amaze and honor me with their thoughtful insight and heartfelt sharing. I can't thank you all enough! We found just the right tattoo studio today and will be there in April. Peace-D

Moannie said...

You must do what you need to do to continue your journey into some sort of happiness. It has been a harrowing road with many obstacles in your way but you are now navigating with skill.

Bless and hugs.

veri. word is:sharres...apt or what?

BREZZ said...

it's ok to heal.
she would want you to.

i love that you are gettin a tat.. she would like that too.

i also got one in honor of my son. i really didn't plan it, like you. it just kinda happened.

i hope you have a happy day--
continue to heal. it's what you're supposed to do.

Thelma said...

I am thrilled and excited to be sharing that day with you, my love. I know that Stef will be looking down from heaven saying "you go mom"!