Inking The Memory Of A Loved One

by M-Gillies
two hearts entwined with vines

Heart tattoos represent love, life and vitality.

With the prevalence of the alternative lifestyle and a resurgence in the popularity of tattoos in the last two decades, society has seen an influx of personal expressionism. No longer bound by inhibitions, people are turning to tattooing as an alternative form of expression and with it, an alternative form of grieving with memorial tattoos.

Today, memorial tattoos are becoming increasingly popular, mainly as an art form, a tribute and a memorial, they are a permanent honorary keepsake of the loved one who has recently passed. And because tattoos have always been used as a means of marking a defining moment in ones life, a commemorative tattoo is meaningful way of keeping a memory of a loved one alive.

While each tattoo design has a significant meaning, what works for one person may not work for another, however, the world of tattooing is diverse and any single person can add their own personal touches to a tattoo.

Names & Dates: Perhaps the most simplest and direct way of honoring a loved one who has passed away is by having their name and/or dates of birth and death tattooed on a chosen part of the body. The size can be small and written in a script on the shoulder blade, or can be a full back piece, displaying both first, middle and last names, date of birth and death and an accompanying quote or meaningful passage that relates to the person;

Hearts: Losing someone close to you is hard. The emotions are heart-rendering and once time has passed, the wound slowly heals, but still, there is always that feeling that something is missing, almost as if there was a hole in your heart which can never be filled. Because of this feeling, some people often choose a simple or elaborate heart tattoo to fill that void for the one they loved.

Winged Hearts: With hearts representing love, vitality and life, wings are often associated with angels, heaven and death – so the combination of the two shouldn’t seem contradicting. For people, depending on their religious beliefs, a tattoo representing the idea that your loved one has earned wings or is with angels watching over you from the other side can often provide comfort. These form of tattoos are a way of carrying your guardian angel with you no matter where you go.

Portraits: Portraits are perhaps the most predominate of all memorial tributes. They can be a very moving and emotional experience, and like most memories that fade to distant murky thoughts of gentle remainders, pictures have always been used to fill in the missing pages of memories. With memorial portraits, it is taking a favorite image – a captured moment of time and immortalizing it on the skin as a constant reminder.

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