Emotionally Driven Tattoos

Emotionally driven tattoos

When a loved one passes away, the feelings of helplessness washes over us. The desire to “do something” gnaws at our heartstrings. Tattooing has always been the ultimate act. The one thing you can do that truly lasts a lifetime. Just getting a tattoo is a statement within itself so it is natural to feel an urge mark your distress and loss with a memorial tattoo.

There is already a flurry of nervous energy when deciding to get a tattoo. This is normal and healthy. Grief is said to be sent to us in 5 stages; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. You are on the proverbial roller coaster of emotions.

Maybe you should wait until you are thinking clearly before marking your entire back with a portrait of your deceased dog. It might not be a good idea to write out a stream of  consciousness explaining your current state of disbelief on your forearm. Depending on where you are in your grieving process, your decision making will be skewed.

It has been my experience that the perfect design will never live up to its required job. It is a big responsibility to immortalize the passing of a loved one. It will have to stand up to a barrage of critics from the client in mourning. A series of endless requests to resize, tilt, simplify, flip, flop squeeze, pinch, pluck and prod the drawing will surely become tiresome and frustrating for the artist and the client.

The reality is that maybe the act of getting a tattoo should wait. If the design doesn’t look perfect and fitting for the occasion, that tells me the hurting soul is not ready to let go. That is OK! Give it time. When you are ready to have closure on such a painful part of your life, the perfect design will just appear one day.

-Matt Hodel

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