A lot of you noticed that Mike has a Maddie tattoo as well. He got his the same day I got mine.
After the March of Dimes walk in 2009, things calmed down, so Mike and I got out of town for a few days. We went to Las Vegas, which might seem strange, but we wanted to go somewhere that had tons of distractions. Plus, it’s only a few hours’ drive from Los Angeles. Of course, we ended up spending most of our time in our room.
The only thing we definitely had planned was a trip to the tattoo parlor. I went first, and I prepared myself for massive amounts of pain. I was shocked when it didn’t actually hurt. It was very hot, and not what I would call comfortable, but it didn’t hurt. And strangely, I was disappointed. I wanted something to hurt as much as my heart hurt. Of course, nothing can touch that pain.
I love how mine turned out:
After my tattoo was done, it was Mike’s turn. He knew exactly what he wanted:
On the way back we got into a tiny cab car with a weird looking old cabbie. Despite our solemn mood he insisted on chatting at us. He started telling a story about how other cab drivers drive too fast and get into reckless accidents, but not him. He then talked for three or four minutes non-stop about how he is the best driver in Las Vegas, and takes all things into consideration, checking his mirrors, following the laws, how he is the freaking messiah of cab drivers. As he said all of this he looked back at us for emphasis and started to speed toward the median. A second before we smashed into it, we screamed, he screamed, and he swerved away from the median, nearly hitting another car. Everyone honked and flipped him off. We drove the rest of the way back to the hotel in silence, not saying another word about his perfect driving.
Wouldn’t that have been a great way to end our trip to Vegas?
Neither of us ever thought we’d get a tattoo, but we are so happy with ours. I look at mine whenever I’m missing Maddie, and I often trace my fingers over it without even thinking. Mike does the same. We’re so glad we have them.
They’re both beautiful. I love how they are in spots that can be shown or hidden, depending on how you feel.
Nancy Smego says:
I never thought I would get a tatoo either, but I did. It’s my son’s intials, his birthdate, and a symbol that he loves. I can’t imagine getting it as a memorial to him, but I can see how it would be somewhat of a comfort to always have it with you. I love you guys so much!
Jennifer Thomas says:
alexis @ depressionsandconfessions says:
i noticed yours when we met at evo, and i thought it was beautiful.
Crystal aka Travelers Barista says:
That’s probably the only reason I would ever get a tattoo, but hope to never do.
May I ask why the “M” music symbol for Maddie? I read your blog but unfortunately not as often as I’d like. Hope i’m not missing the obvious :o)
Great post…love your blog and enjoyed hearing you speak in person at EVO (even if I couldn’t stop the tears).
I know I’m not Heather but just thought I’d chime in Madeline was super musical, always humming and making music… and dancing! Heather and Mike have some of the cutest videos of all time of Maddie busting a move and freestyling.
I think Heather has a couple of posts about it somewhere!
Thanks Alice…that helps to understand. Hoping to find those videos…bet they are adorable!
Such beautiful tributes to a beautiful girl.
emily bilbrey says:
beautiful! and i love how you had the “m” placed so that it’s facing you when you look at it naturally, as opposed to facing outward. a lovely tribute to a wonderful girl. cheers!
kymberli q. says:
Absolutely beautiful & how very, very, special; they are, too,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and I love the spots that you chose to put them in. When you’re giving each other a hug,,,Maddie would seem to be getting one too.
Jen L. says:
Wonderful! Thanks for sharing the story.
Your tattoo artist did a wonderful job! Those look really great! Well, I remember yours, it’s nice to see Mike’s, too. I have one and you’re right, they don’t hurt. I also didn’t think I’d ever get one, but I got mine after I got through a really bad time (the icing on the horrible cake being told I had cancer when I did not, lovely). I think tattoos like these, that really mean something, are very special. Thanks for sharing yours.
Lisa Marie says:
My stepfather passed away 9 years ago. He was the papa bear in my life. He passed away at 58 years old and my whole entire world was shattered. On his 65th birthday I got his initials with angel wings tattooed on my wrist to honor him. Every day I see it and I smile. He was one of the best people in my life and the mark on my wrist reminds me of that. I absolutely love both of your tattoos…
it’s just so sad and unfair. i don’t know how you bear it. i never met maddie & my heart is broken. you two are stronger than i could be.
sorry for the downer comment.
What a wonderful tribute to the beauty and wonder of Madeline.
I love the simple beauty of them both.
They’re both simple and wonderful… you’re right though about the pain level. Tats force your body to release endorphins and can produce a sense of euphoria.
And compared to that type of pain, a tattoo has no hope of coming close
I love your tats, both of them. Each personal and with special meaning. I think they are a wonderfully symbolic way of keeping Maddie forever with you physically as well as in your hearts and minds, and both so perfect in the way that they honor her memory from yours and Mike’s own perspective.
Lisa @ Early Morning Run says:
they are both beautiful tributes to a beautiful and special girl.
I think both tattoos are perfect. Simple and beautiful. Each honoring Maddie in your own personal way. The comfort those tattoos must give each of you in times of struggle and sadness.
Love and hugs.
Mike’s makes me tear up
I love your tattoos.
I don’t think I’ve ever given any one a compliment on a tattoo before, but I truly do love both of these. They are so meaningful and special to you both, and I always look for yours, Heather, when I see pictures of you on the blog. Now I will have to start looking for Mike’s as well. I think they are such nice, sweet tributes to your beautiful little girl. An outward reflection of how she is always in your thoughts.
I love both of your tattoos. Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful little girl.
What a beautiful tribute. Since my Mum passed away unexpectedly I have known that I want a tattoo to memorialize her, to have her with me in more than just spirit. I want a small angel with ‘Mum’ written into the lace of her dress. I just haven’t figured out where she’ll go.
I love that you have Maddie’s where you can see it whenever you want to…and you can share it when and with whomever you want.
chatty cricet says:
I love them. I remember you writing about your tattoo before- it’s so perfect.
I have my own (accidentally) meaningful tattoo- I actually wrote about it after my ultrasound in January when we found out Pete was a boy. I got the tattoo about 15 years ago, it’s a shamrock, and then I added a little lady bug a year or two later. Turns out, I was tattooing my future world right there above my hip, because now with my three boys and my one little lady, I couldn’t have picked a better representation if I knew and tried. I’ll email you the link.
I’m happy you have something permanent and visible to represent Maddie. She was so amazing, Heather.
Trisha Vargas says:
A beautiful way to honor your sweet Madeline. I think they are both so unique and pretty jsut like Maddie.
I just got a new tat on Father’s Day weekend to honor my Dad! It took me almost 5 years since he died to find the right one, but I did and I love it.
(((HUGS))) from Florida
Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] says:
They are BOTH perfection.
samantha jo campen says:
My friends just lost their 16 week old son and they both got tattoos. I’d want one as well as a permanent reminder.
Both of yours are beautiful.
I have not ever thought that I would get a tattoo, but my oldest daughter wants to design one for us to both get that are the same. I’m so proud of her and her art, it kind of seems like a perfect way to always have a piece of it with me.
I love both of your marks…
I never thought I’d be the tattoo wearing type either. Then one day, my sister, my other half, was doodling in her room various abstract sea creatures and I spotted a lobster. We grew up in a lobstering village. Our house was directly on the harbor, and all of our neighbors were lobstermen. I decided then and there that I wanted that drawing, done by my sister’s hand, on my person, permanently. I don’t know how to exist in the world without her – it centers me to have her mark on my person. A reminder. A constant reminder.
I love your tats!! I love when people have special meaning to the ones they get other than just something random….
My first one is the Godsmack symbol with the Leo symbol in it…(me loves Godsmack)
But my second is for my dearest older brother whom I lost in 03…he was four years older than me and by best friend and protector…being the only biological sibling I got all his things…and with that was a photo album with a picture of the most colorful bird…a tattoo he wanted but never got…it was drawn out and all the descriptions of the colors were hand written by him…several years later I located his long lost son, who happened to do Tattoos!! So guess who put it on me!!?? its on the back of my left shoulder, so he is always looking over my shoulder reminding me to be a good girl!! Its very special to me…
Maddie will always be with you as well…I’m glad you guys got those!! hugs from Akron Ohio!!
Love It! Now I know why the awesome Heather did not answer so many people’s questions in the comments!!!! Heather, later on I thought maybe we were intruding. Now I see….
Michele Wallace says:
Love it. My daughter passed away 6 years ago this Sept. and I have been hesitant every year on getting one since, I need to just DO IT! So glad you guys did!
So beautiful, what a great way to honor your little girl!
Aunt Becky says:
Those are beautiful. Next one, I want to be a big “I LOVE AUNT BECKY” on your butt, maybe.
Your tattoos are beautiful tributes to your girl.
I am almost certain I had the exact same cab driver! It turns out Las Vegas is a small world!
I know the feeling of wanting a tattoo to hurt as much as the pain you are feeling. I have a few and have gotten them when the pain inside was to much to bear. It doesn’t replace your pain but it helps. I have my forarm tattooed with a heart lock & key and some other things and hidden amongst everything is a “E” in beautiful script for my dog. Alot of people don’t get it, but to me she isn’t just a dog. She is my savior and the most calming thing in my world. I love her beyond words and never knew how much I needed her in my crazy life. I also have it facing me, I guess that isn’t the norm, but why would I get a tattoo for everyone else to see? It is for me. I want to see it.
I was wondering if you two would ever get a tattoo for Annie? Maybe a musical note “A” on your other wrist?
Just wondering if you have considered it? Or you want the “M’ to remain single, special and one of a kind like Madeline was?
I do understand about your dog. I have paw prints on me and they represent all of the animals who have touched my soul and my heart. Made me smile and made me cry.
I didn’t know Mike had one too until the picture yesterday. It’s so sweet you went and got these together. I love them both.
Sarah R says:
I think it’s sweet that you guys have tattoos to honor Maddie. I like them.
How scary was that cabbie? Yikes! I have never been in a cab, except when we were our stops on cruises. Scary drivers + we couldn’t understand them = freaky!
Your story about the cab ride ended the way I thought one of ours would at the end of our honeymoon in Hawaii. The cabbie who took us to the airport went on and on ad nauseum about how safe he was. At the time, Kevin and I were both English teachers who have really overdeveloped senses of irony. With each accolade the cabbie gave to himself we each tightened our grip on the other person’s hand, preparing for disaster. It actually turned out to be an uneventful ride, but I would have bet money we were going to crash.
I adore both of those tattoos. It’s something that can be made so personal, even if no one has any idea.
I have my grandparents done as cherubs – grampa standing over my grandma with his eyes closed – always her protector. And my gramma sitting on the clouds holding a little teddy bear with a red ribbon – two of her favorite things.
To anyone, it may just seem some cheesy “angel” tattoo. To me I feel my grandparents are with me.
A tattoo can be anything you want it to be…a tender reminder sounds lovely.
I’m pretty sure someone could have taken a sledgehammer to your toe and it still wouldn’t hurt as much as missing Maddie.
perfect, just perfect!
this is so weird, just had to tell you. the other day while driving home, my 4 year old daughter says, ” I wanna go to heaven so I can hug that little girl.” I said who, Maddie? She said ” yeah, I want to hug her. When is she coming back?” Totally took me by surprise being that she never met Maddie. But she sees me reading your blog and she thinks Maddie is so cute.
I love love love both of your Maddie tattoos! I love the idea of permanence. My sister and I are both going on my mom’s birthday to get matching tattoos as a tribute to her. She died a year and a half ago. I know that losing a parent is the exact opposite of losing a child, and I cannot even begin to imagine what you must go through everyday that passes without Maddie. If my heart hurts, yours must be on fire.
She is a magical child, and everytime I see your sweet Annie I can’t help but tear up because they look so much alike. Your girls are both breathtaking.
These are beautiful tributes.
I think both tattoos are just beautiful. What a wonderful way to keep Maddie with you always. Well, I know she will always be in your heart, but it must be such an added comfort to be able to look at your tattoo whenever you want and wherever you are.
I have a tattoo of a heart with my husband’s name in it, just below my bikini line (so it’s a private one that no one really sees) and he has the same tattoo, only larger, with my name in it on his shoulder. It’s just a way to keep each other close when we are apart. I don’t know why, but it comforts me to have his name on me. He feels the same. It’s a permanence, I guess. Rings you can take on and off — but tattoos? Not so easy to do that!
I love your tattoos. What a beautiful way to honor Maddie!
Side note: Cab drivers=insanity, but also give you great stories to tell.
I love your tributes to Maddie. My dad had an old-school swallow above his butt cheek done on a wild, crazy night with a bunch of Army buddies. The funniest thing is that, apparently, that’s a Navy tattoo, but he wasn’t really thinking clearly when he had it done, which makes the story even better. That tatoo was such a part of Dad that I knew from before he lost his cancer battle that I must have one. As a little girl, I’d take a pen and draw a nature scene around it, and when times got really bad and I was helping care for him, I’d catch a glimpse of that bird and it was a reminder of the man my dad had been during better times. He’s been gone two years, and my brother and I have not yet gotten our birds. I can’t figure out where to put mine, and he thinks he wants to tweak his a bit, but we will get them, and I know Dad will be smiling when we do.
I feel the same about the one on my back for my daughter. I’m glad you guys have yours as well.
I remember that trip. I’m glad you got them as well. They are beautiful.
And dude, all cabbies in Vegas suck. Especially that guy.
They are beautiful!
Alicia @bethsix says:
Yours are both beautiful. I have a puzzle my dad showed me when I was little. He told me he’d tell me how to solve it when I turned 18, but he passed away 10 days after I turned 11, and I never learned how to solve it. I got it two years ago on his birthday. It’s on my left forearm, which I did so I could actually TRY it in pen if I wanted, but I haven’t yet. I think I don’t really want to solve it… it’s a way to stay connected to him.
rachel cortest says:
Do you know the singer Alan Pederson?? He sings frequently at TCF meetings, national conferences, and other bereaved group meeting. He has a song about the day he got his tattoo. I heard him for the first time at my first TCF national conference in 2007. His music helped me be able to cry as he is a bereaved father. Love the tattoos. rachel
When my grandma was in the cancer ward of the hospital I wanted to do something for her. So I went and got another tattoo (I have 4) and this time I placed it on my ankle so whenever I cross my legs I can see it. It’s a purple cross, purple because it’s our favorite color, a cross because she was very religious.
It’s been 7 years since my gram died and I do the same as you. Sometimes I find myself tracing the cross, thinking of her.
I want to get one for my friend who passed away, she was the best person. Ask Mike if he remembers the movie Dragonslayer. She was the lead in that. She was so humble, so kind.
Anything we can do to feel connected to the loved ones we lost, we do. I think both your tattoos are beautiful.
Sarah M. says:
They’re so gorgeous.
Melanie B says:
I like Mike’s tattoo a ton..so simple and sweet. Yours is in a perfect place!
Funny story, my Mom did almost the exact same thing as the cabbie! ha ha. She told how great she had been, looked at me and then hit the gas. She rear ended the person in front of her. JINX
Glad the tat didn’t hurt much because you really should get one for Annie too.
I love that you both did this…and that they can be shown off or hidden. Each tat is beautiful and a touching reminder.
Those are beautiful tattoos!
Awesome tattoos; as a tribute and a testament of endless love, for an amazing girl.
Those are both awesome. And I’m really glad it didn’t hurt. That’s one of the reasons I don’t have one – the pain!
You don’t know me and I only know you through your blog which I found through Matt Logelin’s blog but I wanted you to know I miss Maddie, too. It’s still hard to believe she is gone and I am so sorry for your loss.
Beautiful tattoos on beautiful people to pay tribute to the most beautiful girl. XO
Made me tear up too – What a lovely tribute to darling Maddie.
Very nice, both of them. I love tatoos. My oldest son and 3 of his friends got tatoos to memorialize their friend Brian. I love that! Those are tatoos, you will never regret. Take care.