Marked

Bereaved parents are a kind of reluctant tribe, the one that no-one wanted to join, and some of us have chosen to mark ourselves as such.
The reasons we do it vary and each mark has a different meaning for those who choose it, but many of our motivations and the symbols we use are similar.

I felt after my daughter Zoe’s cancer diagnosis at age three as if I had become become both transparent and luminescent, as if my interior life was so visible that my story could be read on the surface of my skin. I felt that when we left the house strangers would know our story at a glance, that we were visibly marked by cancer. Of course Zoe was visibly marked, though she seemed not too worried by her battle scars (she called the scar from her mic-key button her “other belly button”).

I felt the same after Zoe’s death at age six, that people would know I was a bereaved mother from the grief, pain, love and despair written on my skin. That the wound of having my child ripped from my life must have left a scar. And that felt right, that I should in fact be physically marked from surviving this. Continue reading

365 days without you

Tattoo - I carry your heaert (I carry it in my heart)

Zoe. One year since you left your poor, tired, cancer-ravaged body behind. We never wanted you to leave but we knew you needed to be released from this. I remember not being ready when they took your body away and feeling at peace when they brought you back home. In your woven willow casket, dressed in your favourite party dress and well worn sparkly shoes, surrounded by tokens for your journey you looked just as beautiful as ever to me; my sleeping beauty. Continue reading