Climbing gear and Buddha

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“We lost our son in December 2003. He was 21, and he had just about six months before that gotten a Buddha tattoo on his chest [for his grandfather], and at the time we were kinda like, ‘Uh! I can’t believe you got a tattoo!’

Then, after he died, we wanted a tattoo right away. You know, it was like to honour him.
It was to say, ‘Look what we’re doing. Can you believe it? We’re getting a tattoo.’”

For the 5th anniversary of the death, many family members got the same tattoo.

One niece wanted an additional one for him, so she got “Forever loved and remembered” on her side.


For the tenth anniversary of his passing, this father wanted a large tattoo to honour his son who loved rock climbing. The carabiners and cams form an X which is both a cross and the Roman numeral 10.

“I knew that tattooing would be permanent.
That it would be on me and would die with me, and as
I wasted away or cremated or whatever happened to me,
I thought it would be a piece of him with me,
the only piece I could have with me.”

“My [tattoos] all have a cord tied to Michael, every one of them, and I would never get a tattoo that didn’t.”