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Column: The angel on my ankle

Angeline Schmelzer, assistant news editor

The people who know me would never expect me to get a tattoo, so they were pretty shocked when I got my first one over the summer.

I put a lot of thought into what I would get as my permanent ink, but more importantly, it was the reason behind it.

After two years, I wanted to commemorate the passing of my grandma with a tattoo, to symbolize what she meant to me.

The flower is periwinkle, the awareness ribbon color for esophageal cancer. The angel wings on each side of the violet have the same design as the angel ornament my mom gave my grandma as a Christmas gift.

Some people say it looks like an owl, which is funny because my grandma liked watching the birds and even gave me a green owl ornament one year for Christmas. I didn’t plan it that way, but I liked how it all worked out.

I was close with my grandma, so losing her the summer before my senior year of high school was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to go through.

Getting a tattoo and watching it heal represented the five stages of grief to me.  

Denial: While deciding to get the tattoo, watching the artist get ready and even after it is all said and done, you begin to wonder if you made the right decision. You ask yourself if you really went through with it and you remember the reality of it when you wake up the next morning. 

Anger: Throughout the healing process, the tattoo begins to itch, and it takes every fiber of your being not to snap and scratch it. It takes a sense of control to not attack. 

Bargaining: You start to think if it looks right, or if you should add something. You constantly look at the permanent design and ask yourself if it was worth it. You wonder if there is anything you can do to make it better. 

Depression: While the tattoo heals, it goes through what I like to call the “ugly stage” while it peels. You no longer want to look at it or even think about it because it doesn’t look the way you want it too. You also don’t want anyone else to see it during this stage because it’s not the way it should be. 

Acceptance: The tattoo is healed, and you finally get to see it for what it truly is. The rightful colors show, and you begin to accept that it is a part of you that you will carry forever.  

My mom got a tattoo as well with the same type of flower. She got hers on the shoulder, while I have mine on the ankle.

We got them together and it was meaningful because my mom also got her first tattoo with her mom. It was nice to share that special moment, just as they did years ago.

I have a close relationship with my mom, as she did with hers, and a part of me thinks having these tattoos showcases that strong bond we have with each other. These symbols will never go away, just like our love for one another.

I think about the memories we have, the good times we shared and the traditions we made. They are important to me, and I wanted a way to express how I felt.

Yes, a tattoo is not necessary to show how much I loved my grandma and how much I miss her every day, but it was something I was able to take control of. It is a reminder that a part of her will always be with me, a symbol that no one can take away.

My tattoo is special to me and it tells a story that sometimes can be challenging to say in words.

Whenever I look at my tattoo, I am reminded that a part of my grandma is with me every step of the way.

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