"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hence These Tears

In the weeks immediately after Julie's death my grief and pain was so strong and overwhelming that I felt too wounded and vulnerable to be out in the world. When I was out, it seemed strange that people couldn't see my grief oozing from my pores, because that's what it felt like. I remember a day maybe four days after she died, when Amy and I escaped for some time alone together to laugh, cry, scream and even curse about our sister. That was the day I said I wished I could tattoo my pain on my face so people would know and understand what I was feeling. It was then that we decided that someday we would both get tattoos - for Julie. 

It took me almost three years to settle on what I wanted for my tattoo. After much thought and planning I finally decided. The words would be Hinc Illae Lacrimae, which is Latin for hence these tears. Literally translated the words mean from this place those tears. The best placement for the words would be directly over my heart. Since I wanted my tattoo to be discreet, I settled for my torso. The daffodils aren't because they were Julie's favorite flower. Honestly, I don't even know what her favorite flower was. I love daffodils. So does my mom, and I always associate them with Julie, our spring baby. The daffodils were in bloom when she was born in early April and for many years after on her birthday. One of my favorite pictures of Julie shows her in Ireland, happy, young, carefree and surrounded by daffodils. 
Over the last few years three of Julie's four surviving siblings have tattooed themselves in memory of her. I was the last. I guess all of us felt the need to somehow permanently mark our bodies with reminders of our beloved sister, our never-ending love for her, and the permanent heartbreak she left us with.
Taken just after the work was finished.
Mike snapped the picture and then we noticed the time.


  1. I love the Latin phrase and the design with the daffodils. It's interesting that you and your siblings all felt the need for a permanent marker of Julie's passing. Since you have shared your experience with her suicide, I have a greater understanding for the impact of suicide on the family. You are helping others understand and I hope that knowledge eases some of the pain.

  2. I would be so afraid to do that! I love how you and your sibling share this connection to Julie. It's lovely. We've been having deep discussions with Rick's son about suicide and his own depression, which has seen worse since he has experienced the suicides of two friends in the past year. We are grateful he is talking, and vigilant and afraid.

  3. The daffodils and the phrase are perfect.


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