JUNE--Today. I went into a tattoo parlor for my tattoo I’ve been wanting forever to cover up scars from hurting myself as a teenager. A compass, but instead of North- South, I have my kids initials.
The tattoo artist opened her shop early just for me. We chatted as she drew out the design. After a moment, she grew silent before blurting out, 'You know, you remind me of someone I used to know.'
I looked at her carefully. Two of us from such different worlds. 'Where did you know her from?' I asked.
She took in a deep breath. 'From a hospital.' She said.
I felt a tingle down my spine… the one that tells you something big is about to happen. 'What hospital?' I asked.
She named the one that takes suicidal teens. My mouth dropped open. 'I was there too.'
She screamed, 'I knew it!' And grabbed me in the biggest bear hug ever.
Yes. She was there. When I was a teen. When the scars on my arm were fresh and covered in gauze. And now, she was the one to put the tattoo over them that says “Sozo”— healed, whole.
I look at it now… My arm, a place that once represented hopelessness now represents love… More beauty from ashes than I could have ever dreamed.
AUGUST---What's on my mind.... hmmmm. First-- I'm sharing from the heart, so the words might not come out right. Second, this might be a trigger to some. Many of you know that I had a tattoo done in June. It was to cover scars from a suicide attempt as a teenager. Not really cover up, but to make a new memory, if that makes sense.
So, if you followed the story, by some weird coincidence, the tattoo artist remembered me. She was with me in the hospital all those years ago when my scars were fresh, from her own suicide attempt.
It was an incredible, serendipity moment. It should end there, right?
After the tattoo, I fell into a horrible panic/survival guilt dark period. Because when I was in the hospital, my best friend killed herself.
I have to pause after I type those words because it still hurts so badly, and I can barely see the screen. She wanted to do it with me.... but I was in such a dark place at the time I didn't understand what she was asking in the card she gave me before my attempt.
The survivor's guilt was, and in some ways, still so hard. So hard. I couldn't save her, my precious friend who'd saved me more than once. I wasn't even able to go to her funeral because I was in the hospital.
So, today my husband had his appointment for his tattoo. I knew I was going to see the same artist again.
I dreaded it. Dreaded the memories once again. That sounds so terrible, I know.
It went well. The artist asked for my number so we could meet for coffee and talk. I might be a bit scared to meet her, but I will do it.
Suicide and depression are hard subjects. What my friend did has had an effect on me All These Years later. A part of my heart will always hurt. A permanent consequence to a temporary problem. And it could have just as easily been her writing this post, if I had been the one not found instead of her.
If you ever, ever, EVER feel like you are in that dark place, and no one is there....I'm here. I'm not a licensed professional, all I can do is listen. And Care. You aren't alone, and there is light at the end of every tunnel. Your life is important and has a reach so much more than you Can Ever realize.
((((((((((((((Big hug to anyone who needs it)))))))))))))))))))
Suicide prevention hotline- 1-800-273-TALK (8255)