Content warning: The following post recounts the loss of a loved one, which may be triggering for some readers.
"Knowing Where He Is," Rene Sanchez
My brother Jaime passed away when I was 14 years old. He and I actually weren’t the closest and didn’t know each other that well, but we were always brothers, no matter the age difference between us (he was 12 years older than me). Due to his role as my older brother, I looked up to him and used him as an influence in my own life, although he usually taught me by showing me what not to do in life. His death affected me in a very unique way and I never knew how to properly process it after it happened.
Fast forward to when I was 19 years old and in my first year of college. I never thought about getting a tattoo and I always figured that they hurt, so I didn’t see a reason to put myself through that pain. Then one of my best friends who had recently gotten a tattoo (you may have heard of him, his name is Craig and he runs this awesome non-profit with his partner Katy) suggested I get a tattoo to honor my deceased brother. It immediately clicked. I remember how my brother had tattoos and how awesome and unique they looked to me as a kid. Now to honor my brother’s memory with a tattoo just seemed fitting.
My brother lived a fast life during his time on this Earth and that often led to him staying with many people for various lengths of time. I know my mother and the rest of the family would wonder where Jaime was and if he was okay. It was always a treat to see my brother back home, although you never knew what the circumstances for his stay was or how long he’d be staying. When he passed on, there was a tiny piece of everyone in my family that was happy to know that he was at rest. Of course we missed the hell out of him and everything he brought to our lives, but a small part of us also appreciated that he no longer had to go through everything he was going through.
The aspect of my tattoo that I love the most is that someone I consider a brother suggested a fantastic way to honor my brother. Having Jaime’s name on my right arm brings a sense of comfort and calm to my life that may have been missing in his. With this tattoo, I know where Jaime is all the time now.
Tattoosday is way to demonstrate the storytelling quality of tattoos as well as the healing quality of tattoos.
If you would like to share the stories behind your ink, send us a picture of a tattoo or tattoos that have a significant story tied to your survival in life. Then write at least 400 words (you can write as many as you'd like) about the tattoo, it's meaning, and what it means to you today.
These stories will all run on Tuesdays!
One per week! So you have plenty of time to submit them to us!
The caveat with TATTOOSDAY is that we will not be making you a free piece of art, instead, your ink IS the art we will share with the story—which makes the most sense. BUT we will send you some stickers for sharing your story with us!