I have a tattoo on my arm. I’ve kept it under wraps for a while (two years?) because I understand and respect that they aren’t for everyone. At work (actually, most of the time) I keep it covered. Very few people in my professional life have seen it.
In case you’re just joining me, let me be blunt: I’ve had multiple miscarriages in the last few years. End of February/Beginning of March is a particularly difficult time, as it’s the anniversary of two miscarriages, and also of my Super Epic Ectopic Emergency.
I’ve struggled a lot with these events – check any blog post or message board on miscarriage and you’ll read about the feelings of loneliness and isolation that come with that particular type of grief. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that the grieving is for a person only the parents had any solid connection to. Without any solid memories of interaction, it’s tough for others to feel the same intense feelings of loss.
Two years ago, my friend Nae asked if I would join her for a tattoo jaunt to the big city. I agreed. I’d been considering a “commemorative” tattoo for a while. For me, my tattoo is not only cool looking (an essential quality 🙂 ) but also creates a physical embodiment of a loss that is frustratingly abstract.
I chose the design because of the history behind Dia de los Muertos. First, it’s a celebration that I have only experienced in this part of the world – which is, coincidentally, where all my miscarriages have occurred. It’s also a way for people to remember their dead in a real way. It’s a way to recognize absence and to create a physical outlet for spiritual loss. For me, my tattoo (a traditional calavera) is a way for me to commemorate my loss and communicate how present the loss still is for me, years removed from the event.
Plus, I think it looks awesome.
(Many thanks to JC Photography for the wonderful photos.)