A Tattoo Doesn’t Hurt

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A tattoo doesn’t hurt. Yes, I said that out loud. To you.
A tattoo doesn’t hurt. It’s a constant pricking of the skin, filling it with ink and creating a permanent memory in your mind and on your skin.
A tattoo doesn’t hurt. It feels like a burning sensation, a constant annoyance right on the surface of you.
But, no, it does not hurt.

What hurts the most are those things that aren’t skin deep.
Disappointment. Heartache. Losing someone or something that means the world to you.
Watching a family member in pain.
Watching your own child suffer.
Being in the midst of a mental struggle.
Feeling like a ton of bricks is on your back while you hands are tied.
Feeling alone.
Feeling incomplete.
That’s what hurts. Hurt is when you have a hole in your heart.

So, I write these words on the day of my dear Grandfather’s death. Just hours after his spirit has left us and the shell that is his body is preparing to be laid to rest. After he lost his battle with cancer.

I write this only mere weeks after I decided to get my second tattoo; an inked word that now means more to me than it did when I had it placed on my skin.

The Arabic word for family. It’s forever part of me, just as my Grandpa will forever be part of my heart. While I may have thought a tattoo would hurt, this hurts much more. Deeper. Darker.

I do see the light. I see it in my children’s eyes, in my husband’s hugs and in the faces of my family members. I see it in my black tattoo. Family equals light.

My dearest Grandfather. I love you always and I will continue to make you proud. I hurt but I know that YOU don’t hurt anymore. The Lord will give my heart peace as he gave your body it’s eternal rest.

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

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  1. 6.13.12
    Heather said:

    So sorry for your loss. The words at the end though those are words to live by.

  2. 6.13.12
    Alex M said:

    Sweetie, I am so sorry for your loss. Cancer takes so much away as it runs its course. But as you know, your Granpa lives on with you and your family.

    I will say that a tattoo on the butt hurts a lot…..

  3. 6.13.12
    Anonymous said:

    I’m so sorry for your pain and hope that good memories of your Grandfather help you thru this difficult time. Kindest wishes, Terry

  4. 6.13.12
    A'Driane said:

    This is such a beautifully touching post. Thank you for sharing, and I love the story behind your new tat and what it represents. I’m sorry for your loss and pray your family continues to be comforted. (((hugs))) and so much love to you and yours.

  5. 6.13.12
    Adrienne said:

    I’m sorry for your loss. What a great reason to get a tattoo.
    I have never had a tattoo done, but I would imagine that “pain” is nothing compared to the heartbreak you’ve so beautifully described here. Great post. Stopping by from PYHO.

  6. 6.13.12

    What a nice way to remember your Grandfather. Sorry for your loss.

  7. 6.13.12
    Cameon said:

    What a beautiful post to commemorate you grandfather such as your tattoo. I’m sorry for your loss, but glad that you seem to be strong enough in your faith to close the way you did.

  8. 6.13.12
    Ange said:

    I am sorry for your loss, I am not sure how I will handle when the time comes that I lose someone close to me.

    – Ange (a stranger who found you through things I can’t say)

  9. 6.13.12
    Anonymous said:

    Deepest condolences to you and your family, Amiyrah.

  10. 6.13.12

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful way to honor your Grandfather.

  11. 6.13.12
    RJ said:

    AGREED! When my mother passed away I got a memorial tattoo of her. It didn’t hurt. 11 months later her being gone still does. Grace and peace to you in your time of sorrow.

  12. 6.14.12
    Pish Posh said:

    I am very sorry for your grief, and I am intrigued to read of this interesting way of giving tribute to a loved one, on the day of their passing. Thank you for sharing! PYHO

  13. 6.14.12
    Shell said:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. xo

  14. 6.14.12
    ERIKA said:

    Amiyrah, lovely words in this post. I am so sorry for the loss of a loved one – but your tribute to him and family is so appropriate. You will be reminded forever. He is watching down over you, I am sure. Be strong. *hugs*

  15. 7.15.12
    JennysMom said:

    Late reading your post, Amiyrah. So sorry to hear about your beloved grandpa. I know from experience that cancer affects the entire family. Like you, the only good thing is that our loved ones are no longer in pain.

    Here’s an ancient Eskimo poem that helped me in the early days after my sweet husband passed on: “Perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones let us know they are happy”. I said it every night before I fell into bed racked with sadness. It helped me tremendously in my journey of grief to know my guy was no longer in pain.

    And now about that “tat”, lady! Wow! I have to disagree with you about the pain. No, I don’t have a tattoo. But my son does! (You know the one!) He says tattoos hurt like *%&*! Seriously, he said it was bad. Really bad. But let’s look at the facts: he designed his own tattoo (massive in size) and it was etched into his side (where his ribs are). He said it wasn’t like being tickled! Ha!

    Me? I was shocked when I saw it, but it’s HIS body (Thank goodness). I had to admit to him that it was an original design and he never had to worry that someone else would have the same one! But I can say with much certainty, I will never get one!

    Take care of yourself. I loved your post. Your words were heartfelt and true gems of feeling. Writing from the heart is always the best…

  16. 6.13.13
    Shell said:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. xo

    I admit- I was cringing thinking about a tattoo- I remember mine hurting. A vague memory from about 12 years ago. But you are right- it’s nothing compared to the pain we feel from emotional trauma. We know the tattoo will soon be done and we’ll be just fine- I wish all pain had an end like that.

    • 6.14.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks Shell. It’s been a year, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Funny thing is, I’m planning to get another tattoo this summer!