A Permanent Reminder On A Temporary Body

A Permanent Reminder On A Temporary Body

My tattoo wasn't "just because," and that means something.
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When my sister passed away in 2004 at the far too young age of four, my heart broke. Although I was still young myself, the memory of her life still flooded my mind. She loved nachos and mac n'cheese. Her sass exceeded mine, which I didn't think was possible. Her little glasses were almost always crooked. She had the sweetest soul and the kindest heart. In the days, months, and years following her death, we remembered our beautiful brown-eyed girl in various ways. We celebrated her birthday with massive plates of cheesy nachos and strawberry shortcake. On Christmas Eve, we dotted her grave with little candles that shone brightly in the dark and snowy cemetery. My mom wrote a book to tell the story of our Hannah Marie, in order that we might not forget even the smallest detail of her short life.

Almost thirteen years later, Hannah's life seems to be a somewhat distant memory in the past. Momma's book sits dusty on the shelf, still full of meaningful words, but only to be pulled out and read on the anniversary of our baby girl's death. We remember her less often, as life moves on and the love of our family has partially filled the hole in our hearts. I don't want to forget my sister; I don't want there to be a day that goes by that I don't think about her long brown hair and the way she smiled with those ridiculously crooked teeth. To me, the best way to remember Hannah is no longer with a bouquet of flowers or a quick glance at her picture sitting on my nightstand. I love those memories but I want something more, something permanent.

A tattoo marks the body forever. It symbolizes a form of commitment through carefully drawn lines of black ink. To some, this is terrifying or even offensive, because once the needles push the ink into your skin, there's no going back. The lines, words, or pictures won't be removed; they will remain a part of your body even until you're old and wrinkly. To me, there are few things more unforgettable than a tattoo, which is why I chose this as my way to commemorate the four joy-filled years that my baby sister lived. Now, every morning when I'm getting dressed, I can turn my head to the mirror and see a reminder on my back of the mark Hannah left on my life. The date of her death is printed in small letters across the curve of an infinity shape, symbolizing a little girl who is forever in my heart and always has my back.

I know that choosing to permanently mark my body is a decision that some will disagree with -- that's usually the verdict with tattoos. I do it not because I want to fit in with the trend or because I was drunk one night and decided to make a random rash decision with my friends. I tattoo my body because there will be a day when I am placed in the ground for my body to no longer exist. My time on earth is only temporary, so what is stopping me from remembering the ones I love with a deep lasting memory?

Life is short, and I want to remember those who lived, loved, died, and continue to live on in my heart.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Image

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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The Path Ahead Of Me

Create your own path to find yourself and the life you wish to live.

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"Fortunately, the sun has a wonderfully glorious habit of rising every morning. When the sky lightened, when the birds awoke, I knew I would never again see anything so splendid as the round red sun coming up over the Earth." Sam Gribley had an outlook on life that many people fail to see.

We often get stuck in the movements and routines of our day. We forget to live a little and enjoy our time here on our precious Earth. Lately, I myself have fallen into these motions and felt like a puppet in my own life. The simplest of solutions have lifted my spirits and have started to bring me back to my previous ways. Although Sam is a fictional character, he has a lot of truth behind his words. Each day the sun will rise, so no matter how hard yesterday was tomorrow is always a fresh start.

A few changes I have realized in myself are I have been making less negative comments and I have felt more confident. With the negativity changing in myself, I have also tried to make others more positive when they are down. I have had more confidence in my own abilities as a student and with the way, I look each day. Putting my own self down wouldn't get me anywhere in life.

While reading "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George, I felt inspired to take on more challenges in life and have higher standards. The life I live will be filled with positive people, good memories, and I will strive each day toward my goals. Each of us has our own mountain to conquer and I take mine day by day with my head high and towards the sun.

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