Three months ago Jill and I decided to take a break with a tropical island weekend getaway. On our last evening, I dressed adorned in my best island attire with a collared asher blue shirt, with dark blue buttons, a pair of tan Bermuda shorts, and brown leather open-toed sandals. Jill was dressed in a multi-colored floral sundress with white sandals and a white orchid pinned in her grey and black hair.
Atmospherically the romantic mood was set with the warm ocean tropical winds blowing 70-degree temperatures across our faces. The ambient sounds of soft jazz played, while the sight of enchanting fragrant pink and yellow lilies adorned the patio and our table.
The only problem was finding the courage to ask if I could get a tattoo of Jill’s likeness on my left shoulder.
We ordered two sizeably strong Pina-Coladas, and after taking a couple of sips, I found my courage, but I cannot remember what words I spoke to ask for the tattoo but, from the look upon her face, I had asked the question.
For several moments her brown eyes stared at me with her mouth opened, then taking a sip of her drink. She took a deep breath and told me to use her wedding photo as a likeness, but the tattoo should be on the inside of my left forearm.
I was so happy with her agreeing the rest of the evening was a blur.
After returning home, our kids recommended a local tattoo artist to have the artwork completed. The tattooist used Jill’s wedding photos to produce a beautifully surreal likeness that we were both overwhelmingly happy to see.
But as the months progressed with the unsuccessful treatments, and Jill’s placement in the hospice program. Whenever I was at her bedside, Jill smiled every time she opened her eyes and noticed the tattoo. A week ago before her death, our oldest daughter standing on the opposite side of the bed asked, “why does the tattoo make you smile so much mom?”
Jill softly answered. When I see the tattoo, I think of our wedding day, and I know any woman that wants to be with your father will have to look at me also.
She turned to our tattoo and smiled again.
Memories and the sight of something beautiful provokes an emotional feeling of happiness. (M.J.Leake)