I got this dandelion tattoo April 29, 2011. There are two sets of initials in the tattoo—the first set, “l.d.” are my initials, and the second set, “c.g.” are my best friend’s initials. The entire tattoo is dedicated to my best friend, who has a chronic (and at this point terminal) illness. She is an incredible source of love, inspiration, support, and encouragement in my life. She means more to me than words could possibly express. Over the past 9 months, her condition has deteriorated rapidly. She is eventually going to lose her fight against this illness, but she is still fighting. The dandelion is one of her favorite flowers, and it has a special meaning for us both. But more importantly, getting this tattoo was a bonding experience for us.
I spend much of the year in Los Angeles going to university, while she still lives in Houston. I visit as often as I can—and I got this tattoo on my last visit with her. I was home for 3 days, and we spent every possible minute together, soaking up every moment and cherishing it. She was struggling, and I was hurting watching her in pain. I kissed her beautiful bald head and reminded her continuously that I loved her. That she is still beautiful. I supported her, gently, as we walked together, keeping pace with her cane and watching as she struggled to maintain motor control and steady her gait—walking became difficult as she tired at night. We joked about medications and nausea and the frustrations of ordering medically required, strictly vegan, low protein items at Starbucks and Mexican restaurants. We made a GenderQueer bear at Build-A-Bear and had a birthday party for her dogs (complete with puppy-friendly cake and vegan goodies). We laughed and cried and talked and just lived in the moment—together.
And we got tattoos together. I got the dandelion, which we had designed together months earlier, and she got the word “Mizpah” on her foot (which is the Hebrew word for “Watchtower” and also means the emotional bond between two people who are separated by distance or death…I will be getting the same tattoo later).
I cherish the memories of that weekend, I cherish my best friend, and I cherish this tattoo.
You can see Cara’s tattoo here.