Prior to losing Sam, I was quite content at staying at the total of 3 small tattoos that I had previously. They were all inconspiculously placed on my body where I didn’t see them unless I looked in a mirror or twisted my body unnaturally, to see them. It’s not that I didn’t love them, or that they didn’t have meaning: I wouldn’t allow someone to permanently change the way my body looked ” just because”. I just preferred to keep the skin that was within my everyday sight : as the plain pasty pale white, skin that I was born with. God knows it already had its share of scars from a life lived.
But that of course changed.
Sam had a rocket on his forearm. It was colorful, and it was big. It pointed to his hand. I asked why one day, it didn’t point upwards. And he looked at me with a big grin, pointed his arm above him to the sky, and declared ” I am Rocketman”.
The song Rocketman by Elton John held an important place in his heart, and he would strum the chords on his guitar and belt out the words like no one else. I would often sing along with him. He once wrote on his IG account, under a video he posted of him playing and singing it, that it was one of the most meaningful songs ever written. I never quite understood why, but I think i get it now.
We had a replica of his rocket tattoo etched into the granite of his urn, with the words” rocketman” and collectively as a family, we all agreed we would get rocket tattoos on our arms. So far, only Randy, Tess ( my daughter ) and I have done it. His obituary starts off making reference to Rocketman as well. One day, I will put a copy of it here. It was beautifully written and doesn’t read like an obituary, but more like a story about his life. Tessa wrote it. Sam would have loved it.
Anyway, my tattoo also has ” The Little Prince” , a book by Antoine De Saint Exupery, sitting on his comet, with his knees bent and his scarf blowing in the wind. In the original movie, made in 1974 , the little prince always reminded me of Sam as a little boy with his curly blonde hair. It was one of his favorite story books, and also mine. When I was looking at rocket tattoos on the internet before getting mine, I saw a picture of a Little Prince tattoo sitting on a comet and thought that I needed that as well as the rocket. It was only days after that Sam’s former girlfriend, on seeing my tattoo, told me how much he loved that story and literally spoke often about it. He loved her little boys so much and I imagine he would have loved to read the story to them when they got older. I sent them a copy of the book shortly after that conversation. Sam was so close to her youngest son Eli. Eli, also reminds me of the little prince, with his curly blonde hair. Hearing from Cait, how significant the story was to Sam, made the tattoo even more meaningful to me than it already was. I actually feel, that Sam pointed it out to me when I was looking at rocketships online, because I didn’t search ” The Little Prince”.
Yesterday I had my tattoo completed. Well, maybe it’s complete : I think that if I was to add anything more to it that it could quickly become a sleeve. Which I never wanted. But then, I never wanted to lose my son either, so.. .
I had a dragonfly added to the artwork by the same amazing artist who did the first two. The dragonfly has become a strong symbol to me and a true sign from my son that he is still around me. There is a story from the night of his funeral that involves the dragonfly. It was so powerful and I definately know that it was Sam . I will write about it in the future.
I also had a raven added to the collage: during his service, there was a raven looking in through the sky light, and as we followed the pall bearers out of the center of worship, a raven flew low over the small crowd, landing on a near by building with two other ravens, and watched as the urn was placed so carefully into the waiting hearst. When we got to his graveside, I couldn’t help but to think of the raven and silently asked him to fly over as we interred him into the ground. He didn’t fail to deliver, as after his brothers and sister placed him in the grave , I looked up to the sky and a lone raven flew over our heads. Shortly after the service, as Randy and I drove away through the cemetery, a raven stood on the ground between two headstones, and as our car approached, the raven hopped towards the farthest stone, and watched us drive away.
There have been so many signs gifted to me since Sam left. I feel blessed by each one. This tattoo could grow to expansive proportions if I’m not careful. The artwork is beautiful. The pain of the needle is a distraction, and as the story grows on my arm , it is a beautiful reminder of my beautiful son who I know watches over me. I wish, however, that it didn’t have to be. I miss him so much.