by Kerry Rhodes
So if you know me, you know how much I disliked Taylor having tattoos. When he turned 18, he begged to get a cross on his chest with Frank Woolwine’s name on it. Frankie was his good friend who was killed in a car accident the year before.
I knew better than to think I would stop Taylor once he was 18, so I said let’s go with something small. He agreed and I paid for it for his birthday. If you give Taylor an inch, he could sometimes take a mile. So that one tattoo turned into several. We argued about just slowing down and waiting until he was a little older. After Taylor’s death, his girlfriend Mica explained the significance of each one of those tattoos to me. They were all so deep and profound it blew me away.
He had a compass rose on his shoulder which reminded him to always try to go in the right direction, then there was the quote under it: “If you think it’s hard to watch; Imagine how hard it is to live.” That one has been one of my battle cries after losing him. It reminds me of the struggle Taylor faced and why it is so important that i keep trying to fight for him and others who struggle.
Then there was the tattoo on his left forearm that said “blessed”. I thought it was odd because at the time nothing seemed to feel very blessed but he said it was to remind him how blessed he was to have his family and all the people he did in his life. Then there was the “Mica” tattoo, which I literally thought, are you kidding? She is your high school girlfriend. His response, she is the love of my life and he was right. I am so glad he knew a love like that in his short life.
Then there was the one up his rib cage on both sides. I had a hard time looking at that one. It looked like something had him and had cut into him with claws. Mica explained it was to remind him that the broken pieces are how the light gets in.
I have always been blown away by Taylor and how deep his thoughts often were.
As I reflect on his 22nd birthday, I am so grateful that God allowed me to be his mom. I am a better, kinder, more compassionate, and loving person because of him and the struggles he faced in his addiction. When I thought about how brave and hard he fought, I thought I would do something I said I never would, ( don’t ever say NEVER) I got a tattoo in honor of my beautiful, beautiful boy.
Blair supplied me with the quote a few years ago and it has been a constant reminder to me. Today I sat and read old Mother’s Day cards and found his handwriting and a heart he had drawn on a card. The result is something I am sure made Taylor smile as he watched today.
The whole experience was a Godwink. I went to Lucky 13 in Richmond, where Taylor got his tattoos. When I walked in by myself I was picking out a font. I looked up to see one of my best friends and her beautiful daughter. She had come in to make sure I wasn’t by myself.
I am sure Taylor had something to do with that. I had no idea what time I would go today and neither did she. The font on the tattoo is called “angelface”. There are no coincidences in this life. Just the universe holding me and wrapping me in Taylor’s love. He knew I needed it this week.
Tomorrow, I plan to celebrate Taylor and every moment I had with him. I am finding peace in so many unexpected places. I will see Taylor again one day and we will be together for all eternity. So tomorrow, if you have the opportunity do something kind for someone in Taylor’s honor I hope you will. It helps me to feel like there is a little more of his light in the world. 💜