This past Saturday morning I woke up without something for the first time since 2010. In fact, it was only the second time in the past six years that I’d been without it for more than an hour.
Saturday morning I woke up without wearing the purple Alzheimer’s bracelet that had been on my wrist since 2010 in remembrance of my Pappaw, the man who helped mold my life.
Saturday morning I also woke up without the Livestrong bracelet that I had been wearing since 2012 to honor my stepdad, James, who fought so incredibly hard before losing his battle with cancer.
The first time I took off my bracelets was back in 2014 and it was such a big deal that I actually wrote about it (For the first time in a long time).
Neither of my bracelets (both of which are the original ones I initially put on) had been off my wrist since then, but Friday night I took them off because it was time. They didn’t come off because I didn’t want to wear them anymore, or because I didn’t want to remember Pappaw or James.
They came off because it was time to do something more permanent to honor these two men who were such great influences in my life.
Friday evening, I quietly slipped off both bracelets, climbed into my car, and headed to David’s Gallery in Gulf Shores, a place that was so special to James, my Mom, and my family.
I paid the remaining balance and nervously climbed into the chair.
Thoughts of Pappaw and James flooded my head, while Angie (the tattoo artist) prepared things and Tammy stood ready to take pictures to document everything.
I scrapped my original plans of getting a purple ribbon for Pappaw and decided to go with the Alzheimer’s Association logo instead, while keeping the yellow ribbon for James.
I have to admit it felt a little weird walking around Friday night without my bracelets — and it still does. But what I have now is a better way to show my love and appreciation for two men who had big influences on my life.
I’ve been wiping away tears as I looked for pictures of Pappaw and James. I still miss them so much. I know these tattoos can’t bring them back, but I know both of them are only a thought away.