Healing Through Tattoos: How Getting Body Art Can Help With Grief

Losing a friend or a loved one is one of the hardest things a person can go through. The process of grieving can be long and difficult, and it can be hard to find ways to cope. And while finding closure and moving on are necessary, none of us would ever want to forget the people we’ve lost.

Fortunately, keeping the memories of our loved ones alive has now become a lot easier with all the options available such as creating necklace pendants with their ashes, planting trees in their memory, and even getting tattoos.

Yes, tattoos. While some people may see them as merely “body art,” there are now many people who are turning to tattoos as a way to help cope with their grief. But what exactly is it about tattoos that can help with the grieving and healing process?

Why Tattoos?

Up to this day, there are people who see tattoos as taboo. In some workplaces, they’re even seen as a liability. But in recent years, tattoos have become more and more accepted in society because people have begun to realize that they’re not just about looking cool or rebellious. For many, tattoos now carry a much deeper meaning.

And for those who have lost someone close to them, tattoos can be a way to keep the memory of that person alive forever. It’s a physical reminder that they existed and that they were loved. And unlike other tangible memorabilia, there can be more advantages to getting a tattoo.

They Can Last a Lifetime

Tattoos are permanent. Unlike other memorials or tributes, they don’t degrade over time and they won’t need to be replaced. As long as you take care of your tattoo, it can last for decades, which means that you’ll always have a physical reminder of the person you lost.

They Are A Part of You, Always

A tattoo isn’t something you can misplace or leave behind. It’s a part of your body, and it goes where you go. This can be comforting for some people because it means that their loved one is always with them.

They Can Help People Express Themselves

Tattoos are still a form of art and they can be used to express oneself in a very personal way. For people who have trouble verbalizing their grief, getting a tattoo can be a way to express what they’re feeling. And since each tattoo is unique, it can also be a way for people to share their stories with others.

They Can Help Us Regain Control

“Getting a tattoo is one of the things we can do to help us feel we got some control over the things that are out of our control.” – Mike O’Connell

In a recent episode of The Good Grief Podcast, Mike O’Connell talks about how getting a personalized tattoo to memorialize our loved ones can help us feel that we have control over something during a time when we feel lost and burdened by the uncertainties of life.

Losing a friend or family member can be a very overwhelming experience. And while there’s no guarantee that getting a tattoo will help everyone who is grieving, having such a physical reminder of our loved ones can be a source of comfort for many.

Personalized Tattoo Ink Additives

Apart from tattoo designs that specifically memorialize our loved ones, there are now tattoo inks that contain a small amount of the ashes or DNA of our loved ones. In the said podcast, Mike talks about how he discovered Everence Jewelry & Tattoos, a company that makes tattoo ink additives for those who want to keep their loved ones close to them always.

Through their 21-step process, Everence creates powder additives with the collection kit provided by the client. The tattoo ink additives can be mixed with any color of tattoo ink and it’s up to the client to decide on the tattoo artist, design, and location.

Meet Lori

Lori Christopherson utilized the services of O’Connell Funeral Homes when she lost her son two years ago. While she found various options to process her grief and memorialize her son, she decided to get a personalized tattoo with his fingerprints. According to Lori, the opportunity has been an integral part of her healing journey and has helped her feel more connected to her son.

Some Memorial Tattoo Design Ideas You Might Like

Whether you’re using personalized tattoo ink with special additives, or you simply want a design that memorializes the person you’ve lost, you want your tattoo to be special and significant. Thus, we’ve gathered some memorial tattoo design ideas that can get you started:

A Butterfly

Butterflies are often associated with rebirth and new beginnings. They can be seen as a symbol of hope and resilience, which can be very comforting for those who are grieving.

Your Loved One’s Initials

Another popular choice for memorial tattoos are the initials of your loved one. This can be a simple yet elegant design that is easy to carry with you always.

A Line From a Song or Poem

Songs and poems often have a way of encapsulating our feelings and experiences. If there’s a particular line from a song or poem that resonates with you, you can consider getting it tattooed as a tribute to your loved one.

A Portrait

If you want a more personal tattoo design, you can consider getting a portrait of your loved one. This can be a great way to keep their memory alive and with you always.

A Paw Print

For those who have lost a furry friend, a paw print tattoo can be a beautiful way to memorialize them. This tattoo design can also be accompanied by the initials or name of your pet.

A Quote

If you have a favorite quote from your loved one, or a quote that helps you feel connected to them, you can consider getting it tattooed as a reminder of their life and legacy.

Infinity Symbol

The infinity symbol can represent eternal love and connection. This can also signify hope and resilience amidst grief and loss.

A Heart

Lori's tattoo
Lori’s tattoo

A heart tattoo can be a simple yet powerful design to memorialize your loved one. It can represent the love that you have for them, and how they will always be in your heart, even though they are no longer with you.

Grieving & Healing Through Art

The process of grieving and healing is different for everyone. However, forms of art, such as getting a tattoo, can be both a liberating and cathartic experience for many. It can be a way to express our feelings, honor our loved ones, and keep their memory alive as a part of us. If you’re considering getting a memorial tattoo, we hope that these ideas have inspired you.

And if you want to know more about personalized tattoos or hear Lori’s story, tune in to the latest episode of The Good Grief podcast.

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