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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.

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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!

-Amanda

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No. 1 Reason Why I Got A Tattoo
I like how they look, plain and simple.
I think they’re a beautiful, artistic way to express yourself, and in many ways they’re a lovely form of expression on the part of the tattoo artist. It takes a lot of talent, patience, practice, confidence, and I admire them for that. I think that tattoos (if they are tasteful, and not obscene or disturbing) should really begin to lose the “evil” reputation that they seem to have. Having a tattoo in no way, shape, or form has any effect on who you are inside. It is simply an outside decoration of our earthly bodies.

No. 1 Reason Why I Got THIS Tattoo
Eucharisteo. It’s a fairly revolutionary way of thinking about life. What it means is this:
“A Greek word meaning thanksgiving, to be thankful.
Envelopes the Greek root word charis meaning grace, and the derivative chara which is Greek for joy.
He took the bread, and knew it to be a gift and gave thanks. We too participate in eucharisteo in communion and in life if we so choose.”

Courtesy of the Urban Dictionary. Yes, it has its uses.
So basically, the idea of eucharisteo is that when we live with Grace, that enables us to be Thankful, even through the trials in life, and from the thankfulness comes Joy.

It’s a beautiful idea, and one that has completely changed the way I look at life and live from day to day.

So that’s why I got a tattoo that says eucharisteo. Every single time I see that, I will remember. Every time. Every day.

The nest and flowers? Well, the nest because that’s what is on the cover of the book that taught me about eucharisteo. Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. And the flowers because I thought they were pretty.
And that’s pretty much it.

Disclaimers: I will not regret my tattoo ever. I do not care what it makes people think of me. I do not care what it will look like when I’m old.

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