40 Tattoos and the Powerful Stories Behind Them
People enjoy expressing themselves in ways that allow them to be unique and stand out from the crowd. Tattoos can be great for this. However, they can also stand for so much more than self-expression. There are many instances when individuals wish to pay homage to something, and they do it in a unique way. Tattoos that arise from this desire are deeply personal and distinctive to each individual.
The folks listed below got tattooed because they wanted to remember something important to them. From memories of past hardships to people they cherish, these stories demonstrate that when it comes to art, whether on canvas or on skin, there's always more than meets the eye.
A Touching Tribute Tattoo
Having someone you can always count on, and a close friend you can turn to is a blessing. This is a unique tattoo that does not look to be like any, despite the fact that it depicts two of the most well-known animated characters ever created. The manner in which they are depicted reveals the underlying meaning.
This person's friend died, so to honor their friendship, he got a tattoo of Spongebob and his buddy, Patrick. After all, Spongebob wouldn't be complete without Patrick Star.
More Than Just a Fairy Tattoo
This woman often spoke to her mother about tattoo ideas, and while her own thoughts on tattoos changed constantly, her mother always had the same desire – to get a fairy tattoo.
When her mother died, the young woman got a fairy tattoo in her honor. Another personal touch can be seen inscribed on the tattoo. Following the mother’s death, the daughter discovered a note that read "I love you very much, Mom," which she placed at the bottom of the artwork in her mom’s handwriting.
Love Conquers All
It's difficult to see a family member suffer from a serious, long-term disease. It's even more difficult when you're also ill. This person wanted a particularly special tattoo in honor of his parents.
This person's parents battled cancer at the same time. Both were in the hospital, meaning the father was unable to visit his wife. So, he sent her this wonderful love note that eventually inspired this tattoo. What a sweet way for this son to honor his loving father.
An Everlasting Home
The loss of people close to you has the power to shake the foundations of life. It's difficult for anyone to go through, and it’s even more difficult to recover from.
That home is truly precious to this gentleman, so much so that he got a tattoo of it. The tattoo depicts a house with a dog in the window, as well as his parents' initials. This was due to the fact that they had lost everything in a devastating house fire caused by a gas leak.
This tattoo may appear to be playful and entertaining on the surface, but all that changes when you learn the true meaning behind it. The tattoo is made up of two Lego pieces. Some people may mistake it for a regular tat – perhaps something the person got as a dare.
In memory of his late brother, this individual received a really special tattoo. He died just before turning 40, and his brother got this tattoo in memory of him. Because they spent so much time building Lego sets together as kids, the tattoo felt like a good way to remember him.
Not as Offensive as It Seems!
You might feel a little offended when you first see this tattoo. Someone with the tattoo "I don't like you" might surprise someone unaware of the meaning. However, it’s important to remember that simple words like these can have a deeper meaning to other people.
The tattoo really pays homage to a Smokey Robinson & The Miracles song called "You Really Got a Hold on Me." Growing up, this girl frequently listened to it with her mom, so she had the first line permanently inked on her arm.
Losing a child is one of those experiences that no parent should ever have to go through. Sadly, such things can and do happen, and parents are left reeling in the wake of the tragedy. For this reason, it’s important to remember that what seems like a simple or silly tattoo to you may have a profound meaning to the bearer of it.
This parent opted for a one-of-a-kind and extremely powerful tattoo. The waveform on this man's chest just above the heart represents his son's laughter. The child died unexpectedly, and this guy chose this rather sweet way of keeping him close to his heart.
A Father’s Love
Losing a father can be a heartbreaking experience that makes navigating life more challenging. This lady finally thought of a way of keeping her father with her, even though he was no longer physically present.
She wanted to do something to commemorate her father when he died, so she got her first tattoo. You can see how distinct and yet soft it is, and it is without a doubt the nicest homage she could have given him!
This youngster needed hearing aids, so she had a cochlear device installed to help her. The girl was undoubtedly concerned about how it would be received by her peers. As most parents would do in such a situation, this dad sought out a way to help her feel safe and sound.
After she had her cochlear implant, her father stepped in and had a tattoo done to bolster her confidence and show her that she has nothing to be embarrassed about!
The Power of Words
Losing someone you love is a heartbreaking experience that no one wants to go through. Though we know that death is inevitable, we can take comfort from keeping reminders of our loved ones close by. This woman chose a unique way to remember her dad.
She opted to get a tattoo that included the title of the book her father was reading when he died. She also included the page he was up to, and the resulting tattoo is incredible!
Notes from Mom
Often, the greatest way to remember someone through a tattoo is to depict happier times or an aspect of their character that you admired. Some may prefer more aesthetically pleasing tattoos, but this individual decided to go for one that was filled with emotion.
A few months before having this tattoo, this person lost their mother. They opted to remember her for her habit of leaving loving Post-It Notes throughout the house. This is an exact replica of a note his mother wrote.
Small but Meaningful
Most people who keep a low profile choose a simple tattoo. However, the majority of these minimalist tattoo designs contain deeper meanings. For this woman, a minimalist tattoo of simple lines was her way of creating a token of remembrance for her father.
A woman and her sister chose to get bird tattoos a week after their father died in order to memorialize him and his parents. Following his death, their stepmother requested that he send cardinals to the family. Since then, they've appeared on other goods such as cards and clothing.
The Weight of the World
Living with grandparents is a privilege that not all children have. Grandparents adore their grandchildren and often spoil them significantly more than parents do. It is a relationship that provides the elderly with another reason to live longer.
When he reached 18, he chose to get a tattoo of his favorite hero. He pictured his soldier grandfather carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. It turns out that the grandfather had participated in WWII and died when this young man was only seven years old.
Always at Home
They say there's no place like home, and this tattoo certainly exemplifies that. On the surface, it appears to be little more than a collection of lines and shapes intersecting. However, this tattoo seems to have a deeper meaning than we can see.
This young man's granddad produced a basic graphic illustrating their location on the planet using latitude and longitude. And to show how proud he was of his grandfather, he decided to have this diagram inked on his arm. Who would have imagined geometry could be so influential?
A Father’s Pride
When a parent dies, it's crucial to recall the lessons they taught you. After their father died, this person chose to get a tattoo of something that meant a lot to them. It’s a simple tattoo, but given how much you slowly forget about a person, it would mean a lot to always remember their handwriting.
It gradually dawned on them that their father had written something in their yearbook. They chose to get it replicated as a reminder of how proud their father was of them. They even had the opportunity to duplicate the handwriting that they were so familiar with.
Typically, you consider the personality and hobbies of the person you want to honor with a tattoo. You might also want to consider their body markings and tattoos as well.
This woman's new backpiece features a tattoo her brother had on his chest before he passed away. She did more than just imitate the tattoo, though. In order to commemorate the way their family had buried their brother – in a bio urn that would eventually grow into a tree – she also included an oak tree in the design.
Rebuilding from Scratch
To lose your home is to lose everything. The victims of Hurricane Katrina's devastation are all too familiar with the worsening effects of this natural calamity. However, this woman didn't give up easily and instead set regular reminders to get up and start over.
This woman lost her entire home as a result of Hurricane Katrina. She made a commitment to restore her home and got the blueprints permanently inked on her hands as a reminder. She then took three jobs to make that ambition a reality.
A Simple Reminder
This tattoo is extremely moving, and the tragic background tale has a lot of depth. This young man’s sister lost her fight against cancer, so he decided to honor her and express his love for her with this tattoo.
While the tattoo may be simple, it carries a whole lot of meaning for this man. His sister wasn’t able to write much due to her circumstances. However, she always signed her notes to her brother in this way. So, he had it tattooed in her own handwriting, adding an extra dimension to the story.
A Second Chance at Life
This may be the most self-explanatory tattoo on the list due to its simple design. However, it still deeply affected us. This woman, who enjoys playing video games, came up with the concept of getting her extra life tattooed above her heart.
She underwent successful heart surgery and viewed it as a second chance – an opportunity to accomplish all the things in life that she longed to achieve so much before the surgery, including getting a tattoo!
In addition to choosing a name for his unborn child, one father went above and beyond by writing a poem for her. When he died, his daughter got that piece of poetry tattooed on her leg as a way to honor the parent she loved so much.
The piece was, after all, written by her father! The poem he penned to introduce himself to his new daughter was added to the mix on the day she was born. Since it was done in both his handwriting and words, the tattoo has even more significance.
A Sentimental Prayer
Although getting tattoos on your body might be painful, losing a loved one is much more heartbreaking. A tattoo of their father, who died tragically just two days before their 18th birthday, was what this person wanted to have.
They placed their father's signature beneath a remark taken from a prayer said at his funeral: "Miss me but let me go." While it’s ironic to get a permanent tattooed reminder of a sentiment that tells you to accept impermanence and let go, this is just part of the bearer’s grieving process.
Notes from the Past
It's possible to make a stunning tattoo by giving an old or even traditional design a contemporary twist. To make it more special, some people might add a personal touch, changing it in a meaningful way from the original design.
This person had a special design in mind for a tattoo honoring their late grandmother. They recreated one of the texts she had sent to their grandfather in the 1950s while he was serving overseas. The underlying message? You have me counting the days.
Nothing is more impactful and emotional than getting a tattoo of a lost loved one. This tattoo was inspired by a note that was delivered to the recipient personally by a family member, and it is the definition of personal and meaningful. Letters and notes seem to be popular tattoo ideas after the passing of a loved one.
This person received a heartwarming letter from their father. The fact that they had something permanently engraved on their skin to remember him makes it much more emotional.
Finding Purpose in Life
Tattoo designs are frequently inspired by a person's lifelong love, career, interests, or even significant events. Getting a tattoo can be the reward a person gives themselves when they know for sure that they gave their all to what they love.
This person, who began their career as an EMT with the rescue squad, was leaving because they were going off to college. The majority of their forearm is covered by a tattoo that features the Star of Life (the EMT sign in layman's terms) as well as the designation of their first volunteer rescue squad.
Covering Past Mistakes
If it can no longer be removed, conceal it. Sometimes, a tattoo you obtain becomes a reminder of a difficult time in your life. While it can be a good thing to look back on how far you’ve come, there are some circumstances (and some people) you just don’t want to have permanent reminders of on your body.
This person's old tattoo matched one that their ex also had. They covered the tiny tattoo with a diamond when they split up. They chose this design since diamonds are well recognized for being tough to the point of being unbreakable. The dark coloring also made it easy to conceal the other tattoo.
Even the leader of the high school dance team occasionally runs into issues on stage. This woman passed out when she exited the stage after a national competition. She experienced a spinal injury that had long-term ramifications, as it turned out.
She was given a dog, which she called Snoopy, following her injury. The young woman was able to get through this trying moment in her life because of this new pet. Dogs truly can be your best friend, so it makes sense to get a tattoo to keep your dog close to your heart.
There is often more to tattoos than meets the eye; they are not just simple designs we choose to get for fun. As we've seen, a lot of people opt for more profound memorial tattoos for their loved ones than the conventional choice of a list of dates to record their birth and passing.
After losing her Nana, this person got a tattoo in her honor. She decided on a hummingbird and a four-leaf clover because Nana’s birthday fell on St. Patrick's Day. All things considered, this tattoo is stunningly done and has a moving backstory.
The Importance of Pride
Not all tattoos are about lost loved ones and traumatic stories; some are about standing up for what you believe in. The most meaningful tattoos aren't always intended for other people. Instead, they could simply exhibit a level of personal development that most people aspire to.
Here’s a tiny tattoo with significant meaning. Two Venus symbols are entwined in the tattoo, which is quite straightforward but distinctive. For many, it signifies reaching a stage where they feel confident expressing who they are in public. They say they are no longer afraid to be themselves.
Fighting Depression Together
The problem of depression is serious. It can be hard to know what to do to support someone you love who is depressed. Sometimes, the best course of action is to show them a sign of support that lets them know they're never alone.
Throughout their battle with depression, this man wanted to let his wife know he would be there for her at all times. What better way to accomplish this than with something eternal? He chose a tattoo of two elephants, one of which is holding a leaf over the other.
Embracing a Nickname
Nicknames can be based on your name or on what people think of you. It might be humorous and entertaining, or it might be rather strong. Either way, nicknames tend to stick so well that they become part of our sense of identity.
This lady was the only female wrestler on her high school squad. Because of her talent and determination to defeat any foe, her coach gave her the nickname "beast." We have to admit that he picked a solid nickname with a decent connotation. We can see why she decided to define herself by this very complimentary nickname.
Although losing a buddy is difficult, losing them right before your eyes is agonizing. It can be difficult to move past some painful experiences. An extreme example can be found in this person's account of witnessing tragedy take their companion.
With this tattoo, they transformed the horrific recollection into something positive and potent. They explained that their tattoo not only acts as a memorial of their friend but also serves as a warning to keep safe when rock climbing, which is what they were doing when tragedy struck.
The Lost Twin
More than any other family member, twins are usually the closest. They are not only genetically identical, but twins also frequently have many special life experiences in common.
Losing a twin is one of the saddest events that can occur. This person acquired a series of tattoos after losing their twin as a way of honoring the passing of their other half, as they put it. They even incorporated some vibrant iconography to reflect each of them in the tattoos.
You’ll Be Alright
Some people may choose icons as their tattoos, while others may go with photos or words. If there’s something you repeat to yourself to get through difficult times, why not tattoo these words on your body to serve as a daily reminder?
This person's mother had a simple yet powerful saying that always made them feel better – "you'll be alright." Additionally, the tattoo was created in this mother's exact handwriting to further personalize it. Overall, it serves as a really moving reminder that you will indeed be alright.
Ariana Grande’s Memorial Tattoo
Being famous implies that everyone can read everything about you. Celebrities frequently face criticism, and even the tiniest detail is scrutinized. When they're in the spotlight, some celebrities demonstrate that their tattoos have just as much personal significance as they do aesthetic value.
Ariana Grande honored the victims of the tragedy at her Manchester Arena performance with a straightforward but significant tattoo. It's a tiny bee behind her ear that represents Manchester and the fans that lost their lives there. It pays heartfelt homage to a horrific experience.
The Stars Aligned
Although astrological tattoos are very common, it’s still possible to make one quite distinctive because there is so much to the subject. This person’s tattoo is a good illustration. Not everybody would choose to have something like this permanently inked on their body.
They have a constellation pattern on their shoulder, depicting the unique astral alignment that occurred when their son was born. The constellations represented by these stars might not mean much to anyone else, but they have great significance to this parent.
A Tribute Tattoo
This tattoo design may not look like much at first glance, but it certainly has a secret message. Losing a loved one at such a young age and in such awful circumstances can be tough to overcome.
This gentleman lost a close friend in a vehicle accident, and there was no better way for him to pay his respects and preserve that person's memories than to obtain this tattoo. Thanks to this small and simple tattoo, that loss will never be forgotten. Drive safely, everyone.
Grandma’s Little Angel
Grandparents are living longer and participating more actively in the lives of their grandkids and great-grandchildren. They occasionally even take on more of a parenting role than just that of grandparents.
That applied to this person. That's why she decided to get a tattoo in her honor when her grandmother passed away. She discovered journals in which grandma had recorded her first year of life. She then got a tattoo that read, "My little angel," just like it said in the journal.
Music Gives Meaning to Life
Although getting a tattoo of musical notation is quite popular, this person got a treble clef to signify more than simply her love of music. It also serves as a symbol of perseverance in the face of difficulties and hardship.
She spent a lot of her life playing the violin but encountered a problem when she developed rheumatoid arthritis. Even on difficult days, she uses the tattoo to express her passion for music and how much she enjoys playing violin.
Equality for All
Another famous person with a small but potent tattoo is Sam Smith. Smith received a little tattoo on their hand with a significant message after coming out to the public in 2017.
On their ring finger is a tiny equal symbol. Their finger's equality tattoo stands for universal equality. The tattoo of the female symbol complements the male symbol, which is inked on the other hand to signify the non-binary nature of the wearer. Smith claimed that they got the tattoo to promote the idea of marital equality everywhere.
This father was prepared to get inked in order to stand in solidarity with his son, who was fighting cancer at the time, and to show his unwavering love and support for his brave young man.
His son underwent surgery as part of his therapy, leaving a noticeable scar on the side of his head. Dad wasted no time in having a matching scar inked on his head. This loving father was not about to let his kid feel awkward or bad about having scars.