When Pete and I went to see the tattoo artist to discuss his design, the timeframe, and the cost, I browsed through all the displays of tattoo samples. When I saw a cross with a sunset behind it and a small blue banner for a personís name, I knew that was the one for me. I am impulsive; I can make decisions quickly when I see the right thing. I have often grieved over how Tim could inherit my impulsivity but not my ability to manage my life in spite of it. Tim liked to live in the fast lane - drive fast, jump from the highest tree, take any dare, and sometimes hang around with what I consider high-risk people. As I write this, I realize that while he and I were both impulsive, Tim was always drawn to risk like a magnet, while I am not, and that is a huge difference. As for the tattoos, Pete and I made appointments for June 7, 2008, with two different tattoo artists at the same time. Peteís tattoo took three sessions of two hours each, while my entire tattoo took 20 minutes to complete. What a great bonding experience that was for Pete and me.
Sometime during the month of May, I began sleeping with one of Timís "blankies," as I affectionately call them. Beginning at a young age, through maybe late elementary school, Tim slept with several thermal baby blankets. Some were more worn and washed out than others. I can remember his being embarrassed about the blankies and tucking them away when friends came over. He seemed to eventually replace the comfort of the blankies by sleeping with lots of pillows around his body.
We get our house cleaned once every two weeks, and on one occasion, when Tim was a young teen, the cleaners placed the blankies on a shelf in Timís closet. They never came back out after that. On one of my sleepless nights, I thought about the blankies, got up and went to Timís closet, and brought one into my room. To this day I am still sleeping with it under my chin. I have also given one of Timís blankies to Glen, a friend of Timís who continued to struggle with Timís death and his own issues.
On the morning of June 7th, the day Pete and I were scheduled to get our tattoos, I woke up and had a strong feeling that Tim was telling me to rub the blankie along my face. Actually, I almost felt that he had taken my hand and moved it to my face for me. As I rubbed the blankie against my cheek, I began to cry because it felt so much like Tim was there. This was my first experience of really feeling Timís presence. I have had very few of these encounters. I cherish that moment and also took it as a sign of approval for the tattoos. My tattoo came out absolutely beautifully and I was beaming for days.