Choosing to commemorate the loss of a loved one in permanent ink is a very personal decision. I love my tattoo and I will carry a piece of my mother with me forever.
Family,  Parenting

Remembering my mom “MY” way: In paper and ink

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Rather than succumbing to grief on this milestone day, I am remembering my mom in, what I consider, a beautiful, positive way. Last week, I got my third tattoo and I love it. Maybe I’m going through a midlife crisis or maybe I’m mastering the art of not giving a f*ck what everybody else thinks, but, yes, I got inked. I am woman, hear me roar.

(My dad is going to lose it.)

Choosing to commemorate the loss of a loved one in permanent ink is a very personal decision. I love my tattoo and I will carry a piece of my mother with me forever.

I was 40 when I got my first tattoo, one which is deeply sentimental. My dad actually designed it and he and my brothers and I share it. While we have all dealt with my mother’s passing differently, this tattoo has bonded us in a unique way. Since then, my appreciation for the art of the tattoo has only grown.

Happy birthday, Mom

Today, July 26th, would have been my mother’s 70th birthday. Seventy. Whoa. Remembering my mom comes in waves — some crashing into me hard and fast, without warning; others gently lapping at the corners of my heart.

It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that the last birthday we celebrated together was 20 years ago: her 50th. I remember baking her favourite lemon poppyseed cake and then my grandparents showing up with a huge slab cake. The amount of cake we had was laughable. Naturally, there were gifts, and cards from friends and family.

Cards were my mom’s “thing” and, with apologies to all you environmentalists, I carry on that love of the greeting card. I have kept nearly every one of my birthday and special-occasion cards for the past 30-odd years. Recently, I discovered just how meaningful the words they carried then are to me now.

For the past several months I had been quietly mulling over my next piece. I knew I wanted a quote from my mom: her words in her handwriting. So, one afternoon, I sat on my closet floor going through 15 years’ worth of birthday cards, sobbing, as I searched for the perfect phrase.

There were none.

Because when we write birthday cards, we are usually not thinking about the deeper meaning of life. Instead, we are simply wishing someone a wonderful year ahead. Still, in those words, her words, I felt the love and pride and hopefulness for my future. From two cards, spaced a few years apart, I pieced together a quote that seems quite fitting right now.

Wherever you go, always pursue your dreams.

Her words, her handwriting, forever etched into my skin and on my heart. A reminder to be bold and think big — think beyond. It’s time to go chase some dreams.

Happy birthday, Mom.


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Erica writes with humour and heart about family, #fit40s and living life in the carpool lane. Part-time banker by day and Netflix-addicted-cake-decorator by night, Erica's in-between time is spent dreaming up ways to ruin her kids' lives. Obviously.


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