When it comes to memorial tattooing, everyone pays their respects or tries to keep apart with themselves of the people they lost in a very individual way. It often corresponds with something characteristic that they want to keep in mind or memory because one is not able to experience it anymore.
The basic meanings of these memorial tattoos are:
- Acceptance of death
- Burden or guilt
People usually tattoo these memorials for:
- Memorializing life of a loved one
- Pet tributes
- Memorials for heroes
- Remembrance of important dates
Most common and popular among these memorial tattoos is R.I.P, which is an abbreviation for “rest in peace” – originates from the Latin, requiescat in pace or “may he (or she) rest in peace.
Historically speaking the use of this quote/sentence is a Hebrew tradition, which was later on, accepted and used by the Catholic Church, to distinguish Christians that dedicated their lives to the faith and the church.
It is well known that this acronym is found encrypted on gravestones or in obituaries, but nowadays, almost everyone that has lost a loved one has it on their body, expressing compassion and/or grief.
You may not be able to visit the tombstone for quite some time, this way; you can look at it as many times as you feel the need to.
The design, as previously mentioned of the tattoo can vary. It can be only the acronym or it can hold the full meaning. It can be in English, or original Latin.
Religious with a cross that is for the peace of the departed soul, with some ribbon around it stating the dates of birth and death of the deceased. The ribbon can hold the name of the statute of the person (e.g. Mom, Dad, Emily, etc.)
It can be with spiritual figures, wings or a halo, angels or even the Holly Gates followed by a bible verse, which clearly states that the person in question is in heaven and as most of the Christians believe one will spend eternity with God.
Birds as a spiritual symbol also play a role, which states that the soul is finally free.
Praying hands, expressing that the thoughts and prayers of the loved ones are with the deceased.
Some people though, prefer expressing the macabre part, wearing a full drawing of a tombstone.
It all depends on the image that one wants to be able to remind himself/herself every day.
The creativity and the uniqueness of the design depend on the creativity of the wearer. It comes in many forms, can be monochromatic or colorful, as most soldiers have on themselves to honor the memory of their brothers that lost their lives on the battlefield, accompanied by an anchor or an eagle.
It can also include roses, and hearts – the representation of love, which has an extremely powerful and deep meaning.
Placement on the body depends on the size of the tattoo.
Arms, legs, and chest are the most common choice.
Additional to all this, it is not uncommon to see the face of the deceased tattooed alongside the acronym. Many tattoo artists actually can do quite an amazing work depicting the exact same portrait of the person that one wants to commemorate. It is a very special technique and it takes a lot of practice for one to be able to do that.
Although for some reason, this tattoo is most popular with men, signifying some sign of bravery for showing the identity of a carrying personality, some women do wear it too.
They are not for public acknowledgment of loss; many find it helpful through the process of acknowledging the actual loss and moving on at the same time.
Expressing inner grief can be very difficult, so many uses this tattoo as an easier way of. This memorial or memory tattoo is a way of moving forward with the ability to hold in mind the sweet memories of the lost ones.
Taking into consideration that you will wear this tattoo for the rest of your life, being with you every step of the way, it is a great and unique way to hold someone or something dear in loving memory.
Definitely it’s not a common and everyday tattoo design. It has deep and sad meaning and symbolism and that’s why it demands for a special kind of life situation. Those situations like we said before are tightly connected with loss, pain, and death. It’s a very intimate moment in life and that’s why it shouldn’t be taken lightly. We can “read” and wear a different kind of tattoo motifs differently but this very specific situation. For example, we can wear a rose tattoo for ten different reasons, from joy to death but RIP tattoo is like a sniper. Hits right into the target and there’s no number of different “translations” of this memorial tattoo.
So bare in mind all those things that we talked about today and think before you ink.