I have several tattoos, but the one that is the most important to me isn't really even mine.
Project Semicolon promotes the semicolon tattoo as a way to present hope and love to those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. In writing, a semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.
I was fairly young when my mom experienced most of her mental health struggles, so I don't know a lot of the details. I know she spent sometime in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. I know she went to a lot of doctors and it took a long time to find the right medication for her. By the time I was grown up, I feel she had things pretty well under control.
My mom had a lot of tattoos all over. Some had meaning, some were just for fun. When she found out about Project Semicolon, she was in love with the idea. I decided to get one as well, in support of her and her struggles. I designed a version of the semicolon tattoo that incorporated a flower sketch that I used to put in all my birthday and other cards to her. I took the design to a few different tattoo shops to get some quotes. We were pretty sure which place we were going to and just needed to set a date.
But then I got the call that mom was gone.
My mom never did get her semicolon tattoo because of the heart attack that took her away so suddenly. I have her tattoo on my wrist and I think of her every time I see it. I love you, Mom, and I'm so glad we got 31 years together instead of far fewer.