Tag Archives: providing care for a loved one

The (hi)Story of My Tattoo

I didn’t think I would ever have a tattoo.  The very thought scared me.  Once I planned to get one and pulled my sisters along for support only to leave the tattoo parlor without a tattoo while my support system each left with one.  I just wasn’t ready.

But then….my mom died and the thought of a tattoo in her honor started to make sense.

I am not sure what my hesitation was, maybe the fact that I was told my whole life that they were “wrong”, or maybe that I was worried I would be judged as a rebel or bad person, or maybe it was the permanency.  Probably all of that together.  Slowly though, my hesitation started to pass and I thought of a tattoo more and more and the fear of judgment less and less.


In my typical approach to most things in life I started to do my research.  Where did the idea of a tattoo really come from?  Why is it considered such a rebellious culture? Here is what I found.

Tattoos have been found on mummies over 8000 years old. The tattoos helped historians as they worked to identify where the mummy actually came from.  They were able to identify consistencies in the tattoos to place a specific mummy with a group of his own.  Even older there have been statues and even possible tattoo tools that point to an even earlier beginning.

The word Tattoo comes from 1776 Tahiti where islanders “painted” their bodies and returning English travelers brought the word and the permanent ink back with them.  The Art of Tattooing found itself in the Victorian High Society.

Tattooing continued through history, sometimes revered and at other times considered “risky” or “rebellious” behavior.  It continued strongly within travelers, researchers, and military as representations of where they had been, what they had done, and who they were.  Sailors often were tattooed with an anchor to represent their time at sea.  Crusaders were tattooed with a cross in order to ensure they were returned home and given a proper burial.  This was consistent with other warriors, fighters and travelers throughout time.

The negative history is also there too.  Although the Biblical reference is not originally for the tattoos as they are today-there are many dark stories.  Throughout history many groups have had tattoos forced upon them, most memorably Nazi Concentration camps.   The numbers were used as the identification for the wearer.  As negative as this history is, many survivors now wear their tattoos as a badge of honor and strength.  Family member descendents have even been noted to copy the number upon their own body as a show of support, strength , and honor.

The common thread through time is that tattoos show where a person belongs.


I know where I belong.  I feel it in my heart.  I know my family and my history.  I am now the mother of my own family that will continue to grow and move down the line.

I can hug my father, can hold his hand and feel that connection. The world can see where I come from as my father and I stand side by side.  But,  as I reach to the other side for my mother-I find myself flailing.  I needed that connection. It was for me.

My sisters and I made a plan.  We found the best tattoo artist,  and sent a few things over.  The necklace she had given us prior to her passing-angel wings.  The colors from a card she has sent that told us we mattered.  Most importantly, a copy of her writing saying “I love you, Mom.”  He placed them, perfectly on our shoulders and we now have this common mark.  A description of where we come from.  Of who we are.


If you ever consider a tattoo, I wouldn’t advise you to take the approach I did.  It really is just a  tattoo.  If you want one, do it.  If not, don’t.

As my Tattoo Artist said, “Every Tattoo is a story-a memory. Even the bad ones.”

I wish I had more memories with my mom-years more.  I miss her everyday.


That is my tattoo story.  Every one has one.  I am reminded of this more and more as I look at others and their stories upon their skin.

For you mom.  I love you too!

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A Day With An Angel


A Day With An Angel

I pick up the phone and dial your number

On this special day I always remember

I wish you would pick up the end of the line

So I could tell you how grateful I am that you’re mine

But all I have left of you now

Are the memories and lessons that you handed down

The pictures I have of your beautiful face

Are all memories now, another time, another place

I’d give almost anything to hug you once more

I wish there was a way to knock on heaven’s door

Just know that I love you my beautiful mom

And I’m very sad, that you are really gone

There are many who say you are always by my side

But I can’t see you, so I’m afraid you must hide

I wonder if somewhere there a magic concoction

A visit to heaven just might be an option

But until I find it, this will have to do

A make-believe day, just me and you

We’ll sit in the sun and drink our sweet tea

But when others will look, they’ll only see me

While you are dancing all around the moon

I will dance with you, in my living room

I’ll sit in the hot tub with my bottle glass of wine

And tell myself stories, “remember that time”

You take a ride on your horse to the sunset

I’ll tell my kids of the cowgirl they’ll never forget

We’ll talk about books and have a good time

Even though the only voice I’ll hear will be mine

But mostly I’ll cry and I’ll swallow my pain

Because I know on this earth I won’t see you again

I’ll forever enjoy these days with you, Mom

For inside my heart you’ll forever live on

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The Caregiver

Someone very close to me is going through a very difficult time.  I am seeing things through a whole new perspective-through her.  As a mother, I am given such high regards for the position that I hold. Making a choice to be a “stay at home” mom or to be a full time working mom is most often supported, either way, in public settings.  As a mother, it is understood, when we need to take a sick day, either from work or from friends, to care for a little one who’s feeling under the weather.  It is also understood, when we need to take a break to accept a phone call from school or from the child themselves.  When we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders as we worry about what preschool our child should attend, or how we are going to make it home in time to make a healthy dinner, we are supported, understood, and often praised.  Even taking a moment in the middle of the day to break down in tears from the stress of it all-we are not judged.  For this I am happy.  However, there is another point in our lives, where this same support should still exist, but because of the times of transition, it just isn’t so.

This, is the end of life caregiver.  I am watching as this woman that I love, I will call her Dee, has learned that her mother’s time will be coming to an end on this earth (she is elderly, but I see the correlation with those who are terminally ill as well).  I have stepped up, to the best of my ability, to provide support and love, but I am finding that I am seeing such inadequacies prior to this time.  Dee often calls me, to check on how I am doing, how my children are, and is a sounding board when I am making decisions about their day to day care.  I did not, however, provide the same support to her.  Dee has been the primary care giver for her ailing mother for the past 10 years.  Every morning, her first task was to check on her mother’s well-being.  Not so different from daycare, Dee has been tasked to find and provide the best living environment, with the highest quality staff to watch and care for her.  Just as I, miss opportunities to go out with my friends for a late night dinner because my child is under the weather, she misses traveling to a talent show out of town, because her mother is ill. She is responsible for ensuring that there is food and nourishment, that she is clean, has the opportunity to shop and get her hair fixed and that her place of living is clean and safe.  See the similarity?

She doesn’t, however, get the support and cheers from the world about how amazing she is and she certainly does not get the support and understanding for the weight of the world that also resides on her shoulders.   She doesn’t get the support and understanding that she not only works full time, but is a full time caregiver and needs the same support.  She does not always get the calls of encouragement, or the checking in and sounding board, that I am now seeing she would need. After all, I need it in my caregiver status.  I am stepping in now.  I realize it now. I see it. So my only choice is to do what I can do now.

I am also looking at her situation, Dee as she loses her mommy, and I can’t help but think of my own.  Dee has been given a timeline.  An opportunity for her to say everything she wanted to say, an opportunity to say goodbye. I did not get this.  I have the guilt of things unsaid.  Does that mean that it’s better to know?  I am not so sure.  Dee is starting the grieving process all her own.  Yes her mother is still here, but she has her moments feeling this grief and reacts just the same as I did, when I lost my mom.  Maybe only weeks or months, but still, that is extra time of sadness that certainly affects her life.  It is even more challenging, as her mother is elderly and in these last moments, is not of sane mind.  So everything that she is saying to her mother, the most important things, her mother may not be getting.  These words are only for her.   I do hope they provide her comfort.  I am sure that somewhere her mother is hearing it, just as I am sure my mother does on the other side.

I am sending my support to those end of life caregivers in the world, especially my Dee.  What strength you have, what energy.  I am amazed by you and I hope to do better for those in the future who may need me.  I will call more, lend more support, and cheer them on as they walk the difficult journey.  Cheers..

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