I got my tattoo after 4 years of contemplation. Over the 4 years I lost my best friend from highschool, RIP Daffy… he committed suicide. A year later, I lost my ‘brother from another mother’, an American soldier killed by an IED in Iraq, 2 weeks after his 21st birthday… RIP Charlie. 2 months later, I lost my childhood best friend to a severe asthma attack… RIP Michelle. A year after that, I lost my grandfather, who had a long term illness and who I had cared for throughout his deterioration… RIP Grandpop. 2 months ago, I lost my training partner; 20 years old, an aspiring actor, talented archer and incredible person…. RIP Leo.
By that stage, I’d been contemplating a memorial tattoo forever, however it was never going to be a phoenix until I lost Leo. Over the 4 years I’d battled mental illness after each death, depression became an issue, as a nurse and generally bright and bubbly individual who was always the rock, that wasn’t acceptable. I battled in silence.
The image of the phoenix appeared shortly after Leo’s death as a symbol of hope, rebirth, renewal of life and reminded me of each person I’d lost in a different way.
The art itself reminded me of Daffy, a talented artist.
The bird reminded me of Charlie, who loved being up trees and in strange places.
The history behind the bird reminded me of Michelle, who planned to study anthropology.
The noble and proud characteristics of the phoenix, reminded me of my Grandfather.
The colours and sparkle in the phoenix eye reminded me of Leo.
Altogether, it’s a reminder everyday, they are with me, I will rise up every time something ‘bad’ happens, and it’s time for me to live on for them.