Jodie's Tattoos

Jodie's Tattoos

Sour Grass and Peace Doves: Honoring Moments of Beauty, Innocence, and Hope

by Jodie Cruz, Zachary's Mom

Shortly after Zachary’s accident it was decided that we would all go and get tattoos together. I knew pretty immediately what I wanted to get and I was honored that Holly at Idle Hand Tattoo was going to do mine. She took my ideas and made a piece that was more perfect than I could have ever imagined.

In 2008, Zachary was fascinated by the presidential election. He was a proud supporter of Barack Obama. He would come home from school with exciting stories about everyone breaking into an “Obama” chant during lunch. Zachary’s kindergarten class held a mock election that year. They simplified it a bit: the kids in Miss Gee’s kindergarten class voted on birds instead of presidential candidates. It was between the peace dove and a robin. Of course, the peace dove won in a landslide. The poor robin didn’t stand a chance. Zachary came home that day and was so proud that his candidate the, peace dove, had won. When I decided to get a tattoo, I wanted to get Zachary’s peace dove. It would always remind me of Zachary’s excitement for life and his beautiful, innocent hope for the future.

Our apartment in Berkeley had a big field and a park right below it. Every year, in early February, sour grass flowers would start popping up and paint the field bright yellow. One day we were out exploring and we discovered this field of yellow so I sat Zachary down in the middle of these flowers and took what seemed like a million pictures. Initially, I wanted to get sour grass in my tattoo to remind me of that specific day and Zachary’s beautiful smile in the pictures we took. But in the months and years since he has passed it has come to mean so much more. Every year, right before the anniversary of Zachary’s death, these beautiful, bright yellow flowers pop up everywhere in the East Bay and remind us of Zachary, the life he had, and his beautiful smile. It’s like a reminder of the beauty of life straight from Zachary, wherever he may be now.

The final part of my tattoo is Zachary’s name. I knew immediately that I wanted to have his name in his handwriting. It’s like a physical piece of him. I also made the decision not to get dates on my tattoo. I wanted this piece not to be a reminder of his beginning and his end but a reminder of his life and the memories of him that I will always treasure.

Holly Ellis at Idle Hand, San Francisco, CA