Day 24: Sascha Fink
Today’s story absolutely tugs at the heart strings. Sascha Fink shares the story of her brother, Sean. Her story is unique in that she got her tattoo before Sean passed away, but it was not until after he died that she understood the true meaning of the word tattooed to her wrist. Read more below…
So… I had this tattoo done before my brother died, perhaps for about a year. It was a reminder for me to seek peace after I had struggled with depression and survived a suicide attempt. My brother was a drug addict and alcoholic. He and I had a lot of issues and tattoos seemed to be an outlet for both of us. My brother had an entire sleeve of Celtic knot work with “si vis pacem para bellum” in the center. It means if you want peace, you must be prepared for war. He was desperate for peace of mind and tried to fight his demons hoping it would bring him peace. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in finding peace in this life.
On December 13, 2013, my brother collapsed on the sidewalk in Philly. It took 21 minutes to bring him back, and when they did, it was pretty clear he was brain dead. Toxicology showed that he had overdosed on drugs. My mother and I spent a week in the ICU with him hoping for things to improve, but knowing things probably wouldn’t. It was then that we decided to approach Gift of Life. I sought them out at the hospital and we talked about the donation process. We wanted his death to mean something other than a life ended because of emotional pain. Aside from time for personal care, and talking with Gift of Life and doctors, my mother and I never left his side. I held his hand for the entire time I was there, sleeping in a chair at the side of the bed, with my head down on the bed. This picture was snapped one evening when I was asleep and I will always think of it as a beautiful moment. In a way, I think he found the serenity he was desperate for, though it was through death.
I see my tattoo every day. It’s on my wrist, of course. But now it no longer means serenity for me. In fact, it holds no meaning as “my” tattoo any more. It means serenity for my brother. While this tattoo was not created with him in mind when it was done, it now only reminds me of him and of the troubles he had in life as well as the peace I hope he found in death and his ability to help save someone’s life when he could not save his own.
I intend to get another tattoo. I’ve spoken to my artist and have pictures of my brother’s knot work. I am planning on having it reproduced into a bracelet on my other wrist with my brother’s name in the center.
I can honestly say that not many people ask about my tattoo. I actually think it’s only because of the placement. It’s on the bottom of my wrist which really isn’t something people look at. All of my friends know the prior meaning and the new meaning. However, since my next tattoo for my brother will be a full bracelet with his name on it, I suspect people will ask who Sean is.
While I didn’t get the tattoo after he died, or because he donated, it became about him in every way. My constant reminder of my brother and the gift he gave to others.
Thank you, Sascha, for sharing your story with us!