Piece: Partially burned out tree with heart in trunk and nebula foliage
Artist: Tivon H. Creager, Matchless Tattoo in Sebastopol, CA
The last year and change of my life has been a living hell. In August 2017 I was 5 months pregnant and found out my baby had a severe heart defect and would require a lifetime of open heart surgeries. Then in October we became victims of the Tubbs fire in Northern California. We lost our home and everything we owned. The fires have been a part of our lives every day since.
In December my son was born, and he had his first surgery at 10 days old. He had a complication and needed an emergency abdominal surgery which resulted in him having an ileostomy which required us to change an external bag attached to his stomach that he would poop into. We had to do this multiple times a day. I had to essentially stop working, sacrificing my business and professional identity. Since then he's had two more major surgeries, and almost died from catching a cold. We've spent 4 out of the last 10 months in the hospital.
It's been trauma after trauma. I've been living every day of my life in a constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop. PTSD is a real thing and it has effected every aspect of my life.
We're finally in a place where we have started being able to have a "normal" life again, and dare I say even begin to plan for the future and feel hope that things will get better.
So this piece is a celebration of all of that. It is a bookmark of the fire and how it scarred me but did not take me down. It is a reminder to be a tree - strong and resilient, that can handle anything life tries to throw at me. The heart runs through the core of the trunk, because my son's condition will always be what almost took me down but also made me stronger. The tree blossoms into a nebula because that's where new stars are born. It's a promise of the life to come, and the possibilities of the future.
I just wrapped up the second session yesterday, a few touch-ups to go to add more contrast, but it's nearly complete. Sorry for the low quality selfie ;-)