Yesterday on my 35th birthday, I got my first tattoo. I never thought of myself as a tattoo person, my brother on the other hand, is covered from head to toe — literally.  I’m a pretty indecisive and I couldn’t imagine committed to something etched in my skin for the rest of my days. 

But our dear friend Ashley committed suicide earlier this week. (I wrote about that HERE) My wife and I began saving every digital remnant we had of Ashley; photos, text messages, emails — she became a digital ghost saved to a dropbox folder. That felt so cold, so impersonal. 

My wife and I talked about the burden we were now carrying, a grief that we’d simply have to incorporate into a new paradigm: Life + agony over Ashley. We discussed getting some kind of memorial tattoo. My wife has a small orange star on her ankle in memory to a high school friend that died in a car accident. It seemed like a fitting idea, a tattoo, but neither of us could really come up with an idea of what that tattoo would be. 

As we went through the last few text messages that Ashley sent my wife, we found it. Ashley and Andrea's last exchange was:

“I hope I’ll be better tomorrow” seemed like a such a perfect encapsulation for what we are now going through. Every day is a new day filled with hope and soul-shattering pain, we’d cry and howl and grieve and hope that maybe, tomorrow we’d be have a better handle on it.  

I don’t know if I’ll be better tomorrow. But I hope so.