After years of saying I would get another tattoo, I finally got the courage to get it done. This is my second tattoo. I like it. I think it turned out nicely. While it will mean nothing to you, it does mean a lot to me. There is a story behind it. Unlike my first tattoo, which is of a scorpion, this one has meaning and not just a tattoo of one of my favorite animals. Let me show the tattoo to you and tell you the eerie story behind it because what good is just showing it to you without actually telling a story.
It was around 2005. I received a watch for Christmas one year. It was a nice watch. It was digital and I was able to set a timer on it. For being a person who is pretty tech savy (I like to think that I am), I couldn’t ever figure out how to set up the alarm correctly. One day, I set the alarm to go off at 9:04 am. I think I was on break and needed my alarm set for 30 minutes. Frankly, I don’t know why it was set for 9:04. It just happened to be the time and I just left it at that, never resetting it. Like I said, I didn’t know how to reset it.
The watch would go off every morning at 9:04. The alarm was loud. People at work would scream and shout, “It’s 9:04!” when it did. It was amusing to say the least. It lightened the mood at work a little. With the back story complete, I should flash forward to 2006, the year my grandpa passed away. I remember that day. I was cooking on the grill. My mother called and told me the news. A bit upsetting to hear when a majority of my customers are my grandpa’s age. I didn’t cry. It sounds heartless but I just don’t cry. We all deal with death differently. For me, I bottle it up and just let my emotions stew inside me.
A few days pass. We head up back home for the funeral. I wasn’t to fond of the visitation. I have a fear of death and to see my grandfather in an open casket, was unsettling. I didn’t want to go in. I wanted to hide in the waiting area and just drink coffee. If I could avoid seeing him, I’d be okay. It was calming and it would keep me and death away from each other. I don’t handle death well. I don’t think I would even handle my death well. If I could, I’d skip out on my own funeral.
My sister comforted me, telling me it’s okay if I didn’t go in. I know if I didn’t go in and pay my respects, I would regret it forever. It felt like hours but only minutes passed by before I came to the decision to say good bye. She came with me when I finally got the nerve to see him. Death is a scary thing. It’s saying good bye that hurts.
I was a pallbearer at the funeral. I sat in the back with my brothers. I don’t go to funerals often which is a good thing. We are to pay our final respects before the casket is closed and he is finally laid to rest. I sit up and step into line, waiting for my time to say good-bye. I wasn’t shaking but I was nervous and dreading when it is my time to approach the casket. I follow through. I step up and am told to wait while the person in front of me says bye. They walk away and I am waved forward. I take a step and then, yes, you guessed it, my alarm goes off at 9:04.
I silence the watch quickly. I don’t know what I said or what I thought when I stared at my grandpa one last time. I do know that after that experience, the time of 9:04 always stuck with me. Was it a coincidence or a bad omen of things to come? Why 9:04? Why did I set my watch at that time? Why did I approach my grandpa at 9:04? Why, why, why? A question I often ask myself. Does the time having a deeper meaning? Am I making something out of nothing? Whatever the case may be, the time always stayed with me.
I felt a tattoo would be a nice memorial to him. I told myself for years I would do it but never did. Finally, after a long time of putting it on the back burner, I got the tattoo. It is on my wrist, much like a watch and in a digital style watch, it reads, 9:04.
rest in peace, grandpa.