‘A tattoo is for life’: how memorial tattoos help the bereaved

Professors Jennifer L Buckle and Sonya Corbin Dwyer write for Psyche on the benefits of memorial tattoos:

Many of these bereaved individuals talked about their memorial tattoo as an expression of their need for a sense of permanence in response to painfully clear impermanence – a reaffirmation of life amid the stark reality of death. As one participant eloquently put it: ‘A tattoo is for life.’ Others expanded on the same theme, albeit with some acknowledgement of their own mortality. ‘This is forever,’ one person said. ‘You know, I mean as long as I’m around, this will be around … this is my way of keeping him alive.’ Another participant observed: ‘There doesn’t seem to be a lot of memorials that are as permanent. If you move away or you go somewhere, the memorial doesn’t go with you, but a tattoo does.’

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