I’m not exactly sure where I got the idea for this tattoo. I knew for a long time that I wanted to have something on my body to remind me of my friends who are now gone. I needed a symbol, something I could see every day to make me think of them. And more importantly, to make others remember them.
Whenever I walk into a grocery store, a restaurant, a bike shop, a gas station or anywhere else, people always ask me about my tattoos. What better way to spread awareness of riders than to tattoo a symbol of them on your forearm? You can’t run from this image. You can’t ignore it. As long I’m standing there in front of you, you see it and you remember.
The tattoo is of an angel with long, curly hear, wearing a long robe. She is holding up a lantern in front of her while cradling a helmet underneath her other arm. The verse John 8:12 is etched into a banner spread at her feet, which reads: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
The angel is dark, inked in black and grey, but the lantern is lit in color with red, yellow, white and orange to represent light in the darkness. The angel is a comfort symbol. She is a guide for the rider who has recently passed and a symbol of hope for the families left behind. She is holding the light to lead the way to heaven.
When I first got this tattoo, I had only a few people in mind to dedicate it to, but then I realized it didn’t matter if I really knew the riders who died or not. I’m affected by every story or mention and I’m tortured by the fact that anyone would have to leave this planet so sudden, so young, so needlessly because many of their deaths could have been avoided.
If you read this blog, you would know I have been deeply scarred. After a while, the phone calls and forum posts get old. I get sick to my stomach when I see them and angry because I feel helpless. Now I’m fearful and anxious when I ride and it’s hard to enjoy it anymore.
I guess in a way, this tattoo is my closure, a way to come to grips with all I’ve experienced and to let go of the anger and torment. No amount of crying or bitterness will bring them back. It’s no way to live. I can’t undo the accident. I can’t take the families’ pain away. I can’t make a girlfriend eat when her boyfriend just died. I can’t make his mom stop crying and I can’t explain to his kids why he’s not coming back and how they’re supposed to deal with it. But what I can do is learn from the loss, move on and do good things afterward.
This tattoo is for every lost rider, all my brothers and sisters on two wheels, all part of the motorcycle family. May you find God and have the light of life and may the living find peace and one day find you.
If you are reading this blog and you have lost a friend or family member to a motorcycle accident, please feel free to reply with their name so everyone can remember them, no matter how long they’ve been gone.
Dedicated to the memory of (the ones I knew are in bold):
Anthony Cook, Scottie, Chicco Marlissa, Jose Ward, Luis Perez, Eric Beaman, Joseph Quezada, Brian Hodges, Edison Diaz, Jun Suganama, Marleea Gerfin, Bill Kaucky, Natasha Louis
May you rest in peace.