Monday, April 28, 2014

guided by your light: the story behind my tattoo

“Should we get strength tattooed over where the tumor was?” Liz and I both looked at our lower stomachs and shook our heads no. “What about just having sisters written somewhere?” We searched the internet for pretty fonts and fancy designs. “What about a symbol, or quote?”

We spent the afternoon brainstorming tattoos, a mark permanently etched on us. A mark to forever remind us for a little bit we beat time, and we did it together. Liz was healthy and well, and we wanted something to remind us of that. But at the time we were on 16 and 17, and begging our mom for permission wasn’t exactly an option.

We put the tattoo idea on the back burner for a little while. Liz and I started school, we got an apartment together, and one of the first weeks in our new home she got really sick. I got home and she was standing in the kitchen, and she just started crying, “Katie, I can’t feel my hands. My heart is beating so fast.” Liz and I both knew it was time to go to the hospital. We stood together, we waited together, I held my sister’s hand so tight. That’s the thing about someone you love being sick, at some point you realize no matter how tight you hold, things slip through the cracks. They get sick again, and the horrendous process starts over. Lizzie’s heart rate wouldn’t go down for seven hours, hitting 148 bpm. I remember tapping my finger on the old plastic chair in the hospital room and trying to match that speed. And then I imagined her heart doing that exact thing for seven hours, and my eyes welled with tears.

It was three in the morning and we had been moved to a different room. Lizzie had a fever off and on, so the room was freezing cold. My teeth were chattering and I did everything I could to make it not look so noticeable. Liz still wasn’t well, the doctors ran test after test, whispering how it may be a heart attack. A nurse came in to check on her, and Liz turned to the nurse and said, “Actually, can you just get my sister a blanket? She’s freezing.” I think a love between sisters cannot be accurately summed up in words. I think if someone were to ask me what a sister’s love is like, I would tell them about that moment.

We left the hospital, just as the sun was rising and I thanked God, the skies, and Liz for showing me every dark night is followed by a sun rise. The next week Liz and I decided we would get tattoos. Both of our wrists permanently marked. The quote reads, “Guidati dalla tua luce”, meaning “Guided by your light” in Italian. I also have a sun on my wrist and she has a moon, a symbol from a poem we had found, “You be the sun, I’lll be the moon just let your light come shining through. And when night comes, just like the moon, I’ll shine the light right back to you.”

I believe that in the darkest of situations you have the ability to find a sliver of hope, a beam of light and hold on. And through experience, I believe when you are in a dark situation with someone and there is no light to be found, you find it in yourself. In your spirit, in your hope, and for Liz and I, in each other.

Happy Monday! xoxox

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, Katie! I was over on Casey Leigh's blog and recognized you in one of the linkup photos, so I clicked and here I am. I wondered about your tattoos as I edited the photos for Violet, so I'm especially glad I was able to bump into this post. Wow!


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