Last June, we attended a family event in New Jersey, and spent some time catching up with cousins. One of those cousins, Beth, has always been interested in Tattoosday, and we always talk about ink, inevitably, when we get together. She even appeared in these pages five years ago, here.
Anyway, at this latest gathering, Beth shared one of her new tattoos:
It's a simple tattoo, but Beth was very proud of it. The open hearts form a type of infinity sign. She summarized it saying that the open parts of the symbol allow "the good shit to come in, and the bad shit to go out." It was a marked note of optimism from her, as she elaborated that she was not letting the bad things in life bother her, and she was welcoming in the good. The musical notes are a nod to her love of music, and the paw is a tribute to her dog, Tiki. Beth loved animals and dedicated a lot of her time to dogs, even fostering puppies in her own home.
The piece was tattooed by Thomas "Thomi Hawk" Hickey at K&B Tattooing and Piercing in Hightstown, New Jersey.
Like a lot of Tattoosday encounters, I didn't post this tattoo right away. I hung on to it as the summer started and I had loads of material. This is a normal part of our "organic" process at Tattoosday. Looking back, I wish I hadn't waited.
My wife woke me up early one morning in August, in tears. Beth had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly overnight in her home. She was way too young and our hearts were broken. The photo of her tattoo sat on my phone. I had recently thought about messaging her to tell her I hadn't forgotten about it, that I was going to get to it soon.
That's an apt metaphor that we all know too well. We often take for granted that the people in our lives will be with us for a long time, and then, in a moment, they're gone.
Beth's funeral was heart-breaking, but it did afford our family the opportunity to start healing. We also got to meet Thomas Hickey and my wife and I chatted with him and his wife about Beth and her love of tattoos.
It is easy to forget in the midst of the wave of "celebrity" passings in 2016 that so many of us lost people near and dear to us. Cherish those memories. Remember the message in Beth's tattoo - let go of the bad shit in your life and allow the good shit in. We remembered Beth knowing that when she was taken from us, she was happier than she had been in years.
Thank you Beth, for your love and for your tattoos, and for being part of the Tattoosday family, always.
Beth was a huge supporter of Southern Paws Inc., a non-profit animal rescue group that rescues dogs and finds them new homes. Learn more about the organization here.
This entry is ©2016 Tattoosday.