Uncle Chris's Tattoo

Uncle Chris's Tattoo

Sharks & Helicopters & the Importance of Remembering

by Christopher Dixon, Zachary's Uncle

I decided to get a drawing that Zach did of a shark and a helicopter as a tattoo. Zach was used to signing his name on most of his artwork and I got his name in his handwriting too. This particular drawing was especially important to me. A bit before the accident, Zach was at Stacy and my house for the day. We had been to the park and played around the house and it was time to veg out a bit and watch some TV. Zach was passionate about science and learning so Stacy put on Planet Earth. It featured a great white shark doing these crazy jumps out of the ocean while chasing a seal. Zach was floored (to be fair, I was too). Being ever curious, Zach asked how they were able to get video like this. We told him that it must be a helicopter with a camera, which he thought was really cool. I suggested that he draw this scene and it came out great.

After the accident, while we were going through Zachary's artwork and selecting stuff to display at his funeral, I came upon this drawing and was flooded with emotions.

I have many of the same emotions, thinking and writing about it now: I was so glad that we had those kinds of days while Zach was alive, and that we had that day in particular. At the same time, I remember feeling angry and so sad that we wouldn't be able to have them anymore. I still am angry for that.

Getting a tattoo in memory of Zach was something that I decided to do pretty early after the accident. I knew that I wanted to get something he drew. Frank, Jodie, John, Barbara, and I decided to go to Idle Hand in San Francisco after seeing the beautiful work they had done for friends. We all went together one night after the shop had closed, and they stayed late for us, so we could all get tattooed at the same time. We cried and talked about Zach. We told the people who tattooed us about him and how much he meant to us. They were really great to us.

It made sense to me to get tattooed as a memorial because it's permanent. I knew Zach would be with me forever and it was important to me to have a physical reminder of this. I'm glad I got the tattoo.

It's important to remember.