Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sacred Sentiments

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
- Helen Keller

Maori Chief - sketched in 1769 by Sidney Parkinson,
artist on Captain Cook's 1st voyage to New Zealand
Image from Wikipedia 

Tattoos have been used since the beginning of human time for the purpose of marking a significant event. The word itself comes from the Samoan word‘tatau’ which means ‘to mark something’.
"Ötzi the Ice-Man" (the Neolithic corpse discovered in 1991) bore several tattoos, including ones behind his right knee, his lower back, and both ankles.  While we can only speculate as to the meaning of his tattoos, it goes without saying that it must have been to mark a significant event or time in his life.
I've never been a big fan of tattoos. You only need to ask two of my sons, who will tell you their stories of my reaction to theirs. I mean, you have to be absolutely certain you're going to want to spend eternity with that  marking, right?  If a mummified Neolithic man still displays his tattoos to the world, that's one enduring art form.

Still, there is something to it, this practice of making a mark on our skin to mark a significant event in our lives.  In some cases, it may be about using physical pain to express internal pain, but not always. They can also express great joy, marking the occasions of love in our lives. I must admit, I see the sacred sentiments in such tattoos.  

My great-nephew's father, brother, and wife decided to express their love and their pain at his passing with tattoos. I found their choices to be poignant and dear. I'm certain it was a wonderful bonding experience, and I look forward to hearing all about it, and seeing the tattoos for myself, very soon.

Here are the photos from their experience:

This one is from Josh's father, and includes favorite pet name from Josh's childhood.


This one is from Josh's brother, who commemorates their love for Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are"
...and this one is from Josh's wife:

The purple rose signifies Cystic Fibrosis awareness, and the green ribbon is the symbol of organ donors.

I can feel Josh's smile at these sacred sentiments.

Today, may you find a way to remember a loved one.

The music for today is called "Divine Remembrance". Rupert Guenther (on electric violin) & Paul Armitage (on keyboard) performance from the "Gratitude" CD. Recorded live in concert Perth Australia 2004. Enjoy...


  1. Each of us grieves in his or her own way, and tattoos have been around, as you mentioned, forever. The signs that the family members have chosen are so very poignant.

  2. Thanks Jo. Particularly touching this morning.

  3. You're so right, Pondie. Grieving is a very personal and unique experience for each of us.

    Thank you for the kind words. ♥

  4. Oh,Rick. I offer you my deepest sympathies on your own loss suffered last night. Please be gentle with yourself for a good long while, and know that the way you choose to handle your own unique grieving process will serve as a tribute to your sister's loving memory. Much love and big hugs...I'll deliver them in person soon. (♥)

  5. where the wild things are. first entered my life twenty years ago in the first week of my teaching. it carries weight as a shared childhood experience. i think it's amazing that josh's family have chosen to honour his memory in this way (among others i'm sure). steven

  6. Thank you, Steven. the Sendak choice was definitely my favorite! Did you know that he dsigned the sets for Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker"?? Wild for sure!

    Yes, Josh's family is pretty amazing. ♥

  7. Then Josh will live on for generations to come. Thank you, Reya. ♥


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