Last year, my oldest daughter got a memorial tattoo for her dad who passed away eight years ago, when she was twelve. I even wrote an article about it.
What I failed to mention in that article was that I got one too.
Looking at me, you would never think, “that woman has a tattoo”. I would never have thought it of myself a few years ago. In fact, I may have been horrified by the very idea.
We all change somewhat as we get older and move into our second act. But when you go through something traumatic, it can change you more than you would ever think.
I have taken to thinking of my life as BHD and AFD (before Howie died and after Howie died). The before me and the after me are quite different people. There are many things that I do now that weren’t even a consideration back then.
Writing? I had never tried it so I never knew that I would love it like I do.
Starting a business? Yea right – who had the time?
Befriending a community of women writers and widows? Why would I have needed to?
Raising my daughters by myself? Never a thought in my head.
The AHD me has grown a lot. I have become less judgemental and more confident. I also know that life can change in an instant so I try to do what I like to do, not what others may think I should do.
With that comes some impulsivity. Sometime you just gotta say “what the fuck!”.
The BHD me would never have allowed her daughter to get a tattoo. That is not something that “we” do. She would be judged. I would be judged.
It did take a while, but I was finally on board with her tribute to her dad. When I offered to go with her, she said, “Mom, why don’t you get one too?” I looked at her like she was crazy and immediately said no.
But then I started to consider it. I thought about the past me and the present me. I am still the same person, yet I am different. I was able to move forward, but Howie and the family we created are always a part of me. Maybe I should represent that somehow.
With a little encouragement from my daughter, I decided to get a tattoo. I chose four little hearts on my ankle, for the four of us, with one of the hearts in pink, to represent the new me.
So now I have a tattoo. Not something I ever thought I would have.
My youngest now wants her own memorial tattoo for her dad. And fair is fair, so she would like me to get one with her, just like I did with her sister.
I am leaning towards yes – but two is my limit! And I do have a few ideas of what the next one will be…
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.