Woman has touching tattoo made from the ashes of her mum, dad and brother inked onto her chest
We all choose to grieve in different ways, and it's impossible to tell how we will react to death until after it's already happened. Some people cry and cry until it feels like their tear ducts have dried out, while others simmer with quiet rage and frustration, burying their emotions and staying stoic.
People can cycle through denial, depression, bargaining and fury all in the space of an hour or so, and there's no telling how long the mourning process will take. For Ceinwen Winrow, who tragically lost her brother and parents, the healing process could only begin after a visit to the tattoo parlour, and a very unconventional inking session.
Ceinwen, who was born in South Africa but now lives in the UK, was very close to her family. But she was devastated when, in 2005, her brother Bryn took his own life. Ten years later, her mother Geraldine Naish, passed away as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and her father Hugh died in April 2018. Feeling lonely and depressed, Ceinwen struggled to cope with the void in her life.
But things cleared up for her when she had the bright idea of getting her family's ashes tattooed onto her chest, in a 40-minute-long procedure that meant she would always have them (literally) close to her heart.
Commenting on her tattoo, Ceinwen stated: "I remembered that my parents lived near a studio, which specialised in ‘cremation tattoos.' I put some of each of their ashes together in a bottle and took them in there. The tattooist mixed them with ink and etched the words, ‘your wings were ready, but my heart was not,’ on to my chest, with a feather and three birds, one for each of them. I’d seen the words on a Facebook post and thought they were perfect for how I was feeling. Now I feel like my family are with me all the time and in my heart."
She added: "We were a very close family, unbelievably close. My brother was like my best friend, even though we were very different characters. He moved to the UK in 2000 and me and my parents followed a year later, because we couldn’t stand to be apart ... Having the tattoo done was really therapeutic – I love it. When I lost my dad, I had a burning feeling that I wanted to get something done for all of us. I couldn’t believe how lonely it was, being an orphan, and the tattoo has really helped."
Despite the fact that the procedure cost over £100, Ceinwen asserts that, for her, it was worth every penny. It certainly is an unusual method of saying goodbye, but I suppose that, as long as she isn't hurting anybody, and it helps her move on, then it can't be a bad thing. After all, we all react differently.