Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Me, taking off my shirt to get ready for yoga class.

He, the new manager at the yoga studio: "Hey, what a great tattoo on your back. Does it mean something significant?"

Me, Yes, it was done in response to my husband dying a year ago. It's a Tree of Life, which symbolizes the connection between heaven and earth. As you see, the is a bird taking flight.

He, "It's amazing. Now it will it is even more beautiful knowing it's significance."

Me, Thank you for asking. It means a lot to me.


  1. wow, that tatt is STUNNING. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. What a great guy to show empathy and say what he said.

    It is very important to still receive validation .... I think it is as crucial now as it was at the beginning ... although I guess we don't need to hear it quite so often?

    Beautiful ... is the Tree of Life connected to Buddhism?

    Love it and love you

  2. Beautiful Dan. I have to confess that when I saw your amazing tatoo, my second thought, after beautiful, was ouch! And I agree that validation and people just noticing is so important. I'm experiencing people who should know better (ie. they were there when Austin collapsed on his office floor) making stupid comments that they don't even realize are hurting to me (ie. that volleyball game was so stressful I thought I'd have a heart attack or when my husband is away working for the day I sure feel like a single parent). And I realize that one of Austin's gifts to me has been an awareness that I need to pay attention to what comes out of my mouth. I'm glad your yoga manager is sensitive and interested.

  3. Debbie - I notice what I say much more now as well. I like to think I was always pretty mindful, but clearly had no idea half the things I said. For me, it's hearing all the drowning references from people who Should Know Better. Drowning references are amazingly common in this world, in grief, and in just general life (drowning in bills, drowning in - whatever), and while those get me too, they aren't personal. But the casual references from people who Know -
    Just also shows how those peoples' lives were not intimately affected.

    Dan - I was getting ready to do a project with a friend yesterday, and stuck in some of the supplies were the photos I printed from your blog to make your collage. I'd forgotten they were there (sorry - I will still mail them!). My friend looked over my shoulder and asked "who are those beautiful people?" I started crying, and said "this is my friend dan, and his husband michael." I told her what happened, and we both just stood there and cried for a minute. She asked me about you, and about Michael. She recognized the coastline, having lived out that way, and she noticed Michael's UCSB shirt. I showed her your tattoos (I had that photo), and told her what they meant. She went through all the pictures and said, "there is so much to feel in this world."

    So, in a way, you and michael were both in the room with us.


  4. Thank you for sharing the Tree of Life symbol and your fantastic, work of art tattoo. It is funny, but I have also felt a great affinity to the Tree of Life symbol since my husband died.

  5. Boo, you do find references to a tree of life in many religions. As I remember, there are Buddhist teachings of it, but mostly there is a story in the bible about it as well. What I have always taken from the story is that it's roots are well planted into this world, with all that goes with our human experience. And, it's branches reach up to the heavens, created a connection to the other worldly part of our journey. There are many interpretations of it, which I may have previously written aboout.

    Hey Deb. I seem to run into those kind of people, saying ignorant things as well. Yet, recently I seem to be experiencing the opposite. It's so refreshing, and welcoming, to have someone ask, then stay connected when the response they get is so deep. Refreshing.

    Megan, How lovely of you to share our pictures, and story, with your friend. I so appreciate your telling me of this, as it made me feel so good to read it. It amazes me that each of our stories connect to people, then get shared again. In a way it really gives new life to each of our experiences.

    Hi W. in the M. This tattoo is actually something that was done last year, about a week after Michael died. I have shared it with my new tattoo artist, and we have been discussing some added work that we might put into place at a later time. Next thing you know I will be traveling with the circus as the Widowed Tattoo Man!

  6. "the tattooed widower"
    Nice. Traveling roadshow, book, comic book - whatever.