September 20, 2016

I’m on the train. I’ve always loved trains. Trains took me to the exciting, big city when I was a kid. They took me home from that same city when I was older, when I felt overwhelmed, when I needed to breath, see trees, and connect with old friends. Today, the train is taking me to a different city than the one from my childhood, a city I’ve lived in and near since I was 23 and ran away from the east coast. Today, I’m taking the train to go under the needle. 

I’ve been working on the design for months. It was my daughter who suggested a memorial tattoo, just days into our loss. I consulted with a few close friends, one of who put her professional design talent to work. The layout is perfect. Deciding where to place the tattoo was a big decision too. I have the general area, and the general size. We’ll determine the rest when we meet, before we get started. 

I’m nervous. My friend yesterday told me to think of it as “exquisite pain.” Another friend said she never considers how much the location will hurt when placing a tattoo. It’s not about the pain of the needle, it’s about having the tattoo on your body for the rest of your days on earth. 

I took one final photo of my bare torso today. I’m nervous but mostly excited to have a tattoo to visually remember and mark my friendship, my love, my grief, at the passing of two dear childhood friends, one that became a deep love in midlife for a short time before he died. Too short. 

Life and death are random and beautiful, and today I choose to remember it with body art. 

I’ll post pictures and my experience after. 

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