Posts Tagged ‘loss’

I’m gonna write about my tattoo.
Well, one of them. I have four now, in case anyone wasn’t all caught up.
My writing mind is elsewhere, so pardon the lack of creativity and quality here… I’m just word-vomiting.


The reason I got this tattoo is because it’s in memory of my little brother, David Matthew. In case anyone reading this doesn’t know that part of my story, David (plus 3 siblings) was adopted by my parents when I was 12 (I’m 23 now). Both David and his brother Chance were diagnosed with Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy, a genetically inherited muscle wasting disease that can shorten the lifespan drastically, and almost always puts the diagnosed in a wheelchair. We knew they had DMD, but that didn’t make things any less difficult.

Chance is still with us, a pretty healthy and strong 16-year old who is a menace in his power wheelchair. He’s almost as dangerous as David was. In the last year or so of his life, David turned from a pretty angry and rebellious teenager to a sweet, funny, and clever guy who was a true joy to be around. He got sick often, thanks to an almost nonexistent immune system, and eventually was put on oxygen because he just couldn’t breathe well enough on his own. I know it wasn’t fun for him, but he dealt with it with acceptance and as much grace as a 17-year old guy could.

He passed away on May 4th (the kid loved Star Wars), and I was just getting off work when my husband picked me up to take me out to the Hospice House he was at to be with him in the hours before he slipped away. So much family was there, and though he wasn’t conscious, I know he felt the love.

Previous to this, Seth and I had just finished watching the anime series “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”. It was by far one of the best anime series I’ve ever seen, and definitely my favorite. I’ve pretty much seen it twice now. Anyways, that morning at work I was thinking about it, and how the central characters reminded me so much of David and Chance, and I had decided that I wanted to watch it with them, because I was pretty sure they’d love it.

And then I got off work and Seth was there to take me to say goodbye to David.

It could have tainted the series for me, but instead just furthered the impact it had. I’ll tie it in by explaining the main theme of the show. The entire series centers around alchemy (hence the actual symbol I chose as my tattoo design), and around two brothers. In an alchemy related accident, one of them loses an arm and a leg, and the other loses his entire body- his soul instead being bound to a suit of armor. So essentially, the series is about two disabled brothers, fighting their way through life, wishing they had their bodies back healthy and whole.

Sounds just a little familiar to me.

I couldn’t get it out of my head, and the very night after David passed I started re-watching the series with Tamara, and made the decision that the alchemy symbol widely used and depicted in the series was going to be my memorial tattoo. I found the basic design I wanted, and had my tattoo artist draw up a design incorporating David’s initials.

In my researching of the symbol, I also read that it derives from a Jewish symbol that essentially means victory over death. Fitting indeed.

Pretty much worded out right now though, so there’s that. Hope it makes sense, and if not you know where to find me!



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Sometimes messy food is the most enjoyable; cheese and limes mingled on wooden board, one spoon to dish up all toppings, every person is the artist of their own plate. Fingers are licked, aromatic fresh-chopped herbs tossed onto food and countertop, arms reaching over arms, the pop-hiss of Mexican colas being opened interrupting the noise.

Messy food can be some of the very best, and I’m learning to relax into that. Messy life is what we’ve been given, and I’m trying to learn to relax into that as well, but I’m very bad at it.

Food is small and I can see it all on my counter and I know how it works and I have a deep and real appreciation and love for it. Life is inescapably large and I can’t see what’s going to happen and it’s unspeakably frightening. I think things are going to go a certain direction and then they don’t and I’m left drifting momentarily. A cold flood washing over my body as my head spins and I spill coffee down the front of my dress in a coffeehouse late at night. I feel lighter than air for just one moment in time as I look across the room and see the expression that must mirror mine and it’s a damning confirmation.

It’s messy; sticky warm coffee smeared across my chin and cold-hot-lighter-than-air-sinking-life jarring my heart.

I never know what to do with it, and it’s as if I’m staring at a table full of food and have forgotten how to cook.

I am missing my great Aunt Shelley right now. Missing her and wishing I could have seen her more recently. Wishing she could have met my husband, because she would have loved him. Wishing there had been more connection, more shared meals, more bread broken.

I wish I could take this life and make a little sense of it. Look at things and think to myself: Okay well this is messy and imperfect but we’ll just trim the rotten bits off and we can just throw in this and that, spice and herb, smoke things up, cure and salt and sear and taste. Make things good. Take the unsures and the new ingredients and learn with it and learn to be okay.

But I never know what to do when the milk of life sours overnight; when cast iron is heated too hot and foods burn, and breads don’t rise and flavors are discordant. When the tried and true recipe who’s outcome you can always predict goes terribly awry.

Food and life; they’re inescapably intermingled and it’s a beautiful emotional thing. It’s messy and unpredictable and sometimes just terrible, but I’m trying. I’m trying to learn, to be okay, to take the messy and know it, learn it, accept it.

To learn to find the hickory taste in the burnt edges, the baking gold in the soured dairy, the lesson in the fallen bread.

It’s disappointing and frustrating and messy and it’s life. And sometimes the messy is also the good.

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