“Mom, I need to tell you something.” When I heard those words my first thought was: RUN! I couldn’t run because my kid is smart. She tricked me! She sprung this on me during our weekly trip to Trader Joe’s for groceries. Time had stopped. I was standing there running through all the awful, dreadful, terrifying worst-case scenarios in my head, the clerk was stopped mid-scan jar of cookie butter in hand and Kate was looking cautiously hopeful.
What was I supposed to do? I turned to Kate and waited. She finally responded, “I have more tattoos than you think.” I exhaled in relief. Oh thank goodness! NOT what a mother wants to hear but better than the other things playing in my head moments before. The groceries were sacked and paid for and we left. Outside I asked to see the new ink. Tears filled my eyes when she showed me. There on her collar bone were the words “I love you” and “Jimmy Ray Fisher”.
You see in January 2006 Kate lost her dad suddenly to a heart attack. Understandably it was a devastating for her. I can only imagine the loss she has endured as my father is still living. There have been ups and downs through the years since his death. The milestones of her life have been the most difficult: awards ceremonies, graduation, leaving for college and so many firsts. On her own she decided to get a tattoo. She wanted to make it personal. With Jim’s passport and old address book in hand, she headed to the tattoo shop. She and an artist scoured through Jim’s address book and found the letters to spell out “I love you” and then used his passport signature to create this:
Her grief is personal. This is her process. I cannot judge her. I can only love her and be here for her. And that is what I will continue to do.