So in May last year I got a tattoo, after many years of thinking about it. (You can read the story of why I wanted a tattoo here, and see the first one here.) It was a simple black outline of a phoenix in the shape of a heart, and I love it. But …. over the months I realised that much as I loved it, I wanted a bit of colour on there, but I had no idea what. And then it came to me – a small red rose inside the heart.
Being the daughter of a Yorkshire lass I guess I should have stayed well away – and everyone knows I hate red roses. Or rather, up till now I hated red roses. See, the relationship with my children's father, who I left in 2001, was rocky to say the least, and every time we had an argument he bought me red roses as an apology – and I quickly grew to hate roses as a result.
Sadly, he died seven weeks ago today. I've been completely side-swiped by the emotions that have hit me as a result. While we weren't close when he was alive he was the father of my children and I knew him for half my lifetime, and I've been left feeling not relieved but deeply sad for my children, sad that I won't be able to share their future with him and sad for the waste of a life.
And then it came to me. Why not reclaim the rose for myself, and at the same time have a lasting memory of someone who I did love, once, and who I find I'm missing more than I ever anticipated.
So this one is for me: for freedom, for emancipation, for love for myself and those around me. And it's for you too, Ian. Rest in peace, you old bugger.
Thanks to Amy at Real U Tattoo, Oxford for bringing my idea to life!