“I let my fifteen-year-old daughter get a tattoo, and no, I don’t care what anybody has to say about it.
Documenting important events in the form of a tattoo is nothing new, in fact some cultures still view it as an actual rite of passage. Warriors did it to commemorate their battles, and to honor those who have fallen.
I think the problem nowadays is anybody can walk into a tattoo parlor anywhere and get whatever fancies them at the time, which is great; until the meaning behind it loses its meaning. I’m pretty sure that most teenagers, and some adults, who are tattooing what’s cool to them now won’t love it forever and will eventually look at it with regret so when my teenager asked me for one, trust me, I thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it.
What was her reason? What did she want? Was she trying to impress her friends? Was she just following some trend?
We talked about it and she told me that she wanted to get a very small, very appropriate tattoo to honor her dad, who passed away from cancer when she was 13. Even with that reasoning, I still struggled with it.
We talked about the tattoo her older sister, Savanna, got a couple of years ago. “I IV IX” placed delicately on the top of her foot. For those of you that aren’t up on your Roman numerals, that’s 1-4-9, which was my husband’s police badge number. I couldn’t think of a more beautiful tribute. In fact, it still takes my breath away.
I started thinking about the meaning and it was so much deeper than just numbers. You see, after his valiant fight with his disease, his badge number has become synonymous with strength, courage and hope. That’s what it means to me, and clearly what it means to my kids.
The night Chad passed, I told Kaitlyn she didn’t have to go back into the room to watch him die. I told her I would stay in the hall with her. I explained what was happening, that he couldn’t breathe, that there was a gurgling in his throat and it sounded like he needed to clear it but couldn’t. I told her he would not wake up. I told her that he was going to stop breathing. And she didn’t have to watch that.
She said nothing as she blew past me and straight to his bedside to hold his hand. She told the nurse she was going to throw up. Her body shook. Tears fell from her eyes. Her dad gasped. She sat straight up, wiped her face, swallowed hard, squeezed his hand and told him he could go. She told him it was ok.
She stayed with him while he died and didn’t leave him for an hour after. She held his hand while he took his last breath, much in the same way that he held hers when she took her first.
In that moment, I knew she was her father’s daughter. She was a beautiful example of the fighter he was.