Josh's friend wanted his initials, "JLA" in light grey. I brought samples of his written work, as his friend wanted it in his writing.
For my tattoo, Josh left a very short note on that fateful night, with two sentences and his name. "Josh", possibly the last thing he ever wrote is what I wanted on the inside of my left forearm; small enough where I could hide it under my watch if needed, but still in a place where I could see it.
Getting ready - my pulse had quickened and sweat beads were forming on my brow. I must not be the only customer that experiences this, as a strategically placed fan was turned on by the artist, when he saw my discomfort.
I could not watch the procedure. And, contrary to other's experience, this did sting!
My beloved son's name, written on the night that he died, etched not only in my heart, but now on my skin.
"Pre-Josh", I would have never set foot in a tattoo place. But neither would I be writing on a blog. Or training for and running in a half marathon, which happens in less than a week. I've learned that "all bets are off" when you lose a child. The inconceivable has occurred, at which point, to deal with the loss, sorrow and grief, anything is possible.
I have also learned that grieving is personal. What helps one person deal with their loss may not be sufficient or appropriate for someone else. No matter how well meaning, it is not helpful to judge or criticize how someone grieves the loss of a loved one. The only exception I can think of, is if self-harming behavior is the result.
Grieving is also complicated, especially in the case of a suicide. And it is a lonely journey that must be taken to arrive on the "other" side - peace and acceptance. I have to admit, that almost a year into this "grief journey", I do not feel any closer to experiencing peace. I have to believe it will come but do not know when. Nor do I have any expectations. When you love someone as deeply and thoroughly as a mother does a child, how can there be a timetable?
So I continue to take one day at a time for this is all I can do. And I keep ending my posts with the same truth - Josh's tragic and sudden death has been more bearable due to the love, support, thoughts and prayers that we continue to receive.