Cardinals hold a ton of symbolism for me. I suffered the loss of a baby in April of 2007 and almost immediately after I began to have uncanny experiences with the beautiful red birds, not even realizing for a year after that other people talk about cardinals being “visitors from heaven.”
I wouldn’t see a cardinal for some time and then I’d be having a bad day, or feeling the weight of the loss and yup, THEN I would have a cardinal dive in front of my car, be sitting in a tree in my backyard or something similar — it always felt like she was there when I needed reassurance. 15 years later and I still feel the same way.
About four years after the loss/four years of visits from heaven, I decided I wanted to get a cardinal tattoo. I spent the next decade interviewing tattoo artists in person, looking at their portfolios and asking extensive questions. Almost four years ago now, I began the process of getting this massive memorial tattoo as a “half-sleeve” tattoo. It runs from my shoulder to my elbow. Every part of the tattoo has meaning. Peonies are my favorite flower. I had a peony bush in my yard in Pennsylvania and each spring it would bloom. It represents rebirth and the excitement of what’s to come for me — I have two bloomed flowers for my two Earth-bound sons and an unbloomed flower for my daughter in heaven. The cherry blossoms are for my deep love of Door County, Wisconsin (where I do most of my vacationing and where my camper is permanently located).
I’m actually surprised it took me so long to make a cardinal themed ornament, but I feel like it was much like the process of getting the tattoo, I wanted to do it right and take my time, and I do believe I have made something beautiful and am looking forward to sharing.
Each 4″ ornament is $15 and is made with love by me. As each ornament is hand-painted and hand-stained, the end result may vary ever so slightly from the listing photo.
For an additional $3 you can add a scored message on the back, such as “In Loving Memory of Avalyn Victoria” (my daughter’s name).