I'm getting a tattoo on Saturday, and honestly it's something I never thought I would ever do in my lifetime. I just never expected to experience anything I wanted documented on my body permanently.
In January when my father had the first of what would be two strokes in as many months, I was sitting in the Medical City Fort Worth rehab clinic, watching him struggle with his therapy. Dad's case worker came and sat next to me and started to talk to me about all the preparations I needed to make for him to move into my home in Washington state.
"You'll need to make appointments now with a PCP in Washington. You'll need to make changes to your home to accommodate him while his mobility is limited. You'll have to drive him everywhere from now on and you'll need to make sure he takes his meds every day." Then she paused and said "This is your life now."
It was like she took a sledge hammer and whacked me in the chest with it. Just took my breath right out of me. I collapsed in tears. And she said "I know it's hard." She shattered me that day. Not just because it was all on me now. But because his life as he knew it was over. His house, his yard, his independence, his memories in that place, it was all over. And I had to figure out how to take it all away from him without him hating me for it. I had to figure out how to add him to our lives in Washington in a way where both he and my wife could maintain happiness.
He did it for us. He worked his ass off, and gave up a lot so that we could be happy and have nice things and go to college and drop out and live crazy dreams that had no business materializing or succeeding.
And so fuck it. Come at me 2018. Fuck you. I can do this. I can make this happen. It's my duty as his son to make this happen and I'll be damned if I'm going to concede that duty to strangers in some cold facility.
So yeah, I'm getting a tattoo this weekend. I found a man from American Samoa to write this story around my drawing arm in the typography his people invented. I'm going to be literally wearing my heart on my sleeve now, not just figuratively.
Plus, having actual ink in my inking hand is pretty cool, right?