Ink and the journey

Having just acquired a new tattoo, I’ve been doing some thinking about the symbolism that it carries for me, as all of mine do.

I was chatting with a friend the other day and she is very tattooed as well and the discussion came up about ink and she made the comment that I get tattoos when something is ending… I replied with “or beginning” and a smile.

An ending may be something coming to a close, but endings also leave a space where something new can begin. This latest tattoo for me was less thought out that any other but in retrospect is the most symbolic of renewal and belief in beginnings.

This month marks 2 years since my son became openly mentally ill and we began treatment and searching for a way to help him be “better”. Losing Willie just a few months later was the ending we hoped we would never have to face but it happened…and we are left to rebuild and move forward with our lives. This is an ongoing struggle for me in trying to live with grief and discover a way to grieve and mourn him but also acknowledge that my life goes on and that I need to live it and experience it. The grief can exist with joy and with happiness and that’s a lesson I am just starting to live.

Experiencing times these past couple of weeks when the tears came forward during conversations and having them expressed and pass shows me that I am learning to live with it. I am starting to not only feel glimpses of balance between sadness and joy but to start to seek out things that will bring more joy into my life.

My new tattoo was part of that. Having wanted to have some work done to restore a little Om tattoo on my hip (my first tattoo and fading now) I decided that instead I would add onto it; symbolizing a rebirth linking this time in my life and a tattoo that was done to celebrate when I had first decided to live true to myself. A full circle feeling in a way for me. That first tattoo, my Om, was done when I left my first marriage at the age of 28… a time that I had made an incredibly hard decision and when I realized my own strength and ability to really know my Self and do what I needed to for my life and my children’s lives.

This latest tattoo… the lotus flowers added to the Om speaks to that cycle of knowledge that the strength and my Self are there… I had just lost sight of it all in my grief. Lotus flowers are traditionally symbolic of many things, rebirth and perseverance being a couple that I relate to well…

Artwork and ink done by Dave @ Empire Tattoo, Victoria BC Canada
Artwork and ink done by Dave @ Empire Tattoo, Victoria BC Canada

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