Birthday wishes to an angel
With hearts filled with love
To Heaven Above.
Today, April 17th
2003, Rashid would have become 15 years old, a special age.
I have been spending a
lot of time at home for the past few months, due to the fact, that I have some
kind of virus that makes me very very tired, I spend a lot of time in the
making, editing and improving of Rashid's homepage. His homepage had to become a
monument for my little boy on the internet. His story had to be told. Rashid
should not be forgotten. This is my goal in life.
Every time I found a
new idea, a neat script or beautiful graphics to add to the homepage and to make
it even more beautiful than it already was.
Rashid now has his own
domain on the internet, which is my property, no longer at Geocities', that homepage
made the homepage unavailable on a regular basis when too many visitors had come
to see Rashid's pages. Also there are no more terrible pop ups.
I now see that people visit Rashid's pages both day and night. During the night
Rashid's homepage is often visited by people, who have been hospitalized
themselves. Are they being treated for cancer?
I do not know the answer, because not every visitor leaves a message in Rashid's
I visited many memorial
pages during the past few months and "met" wonderful, loving, caring
people, who were touched and impressed by Rashid's story. Rashid's
beautiful big brown eyes still touch a great many people, his story makes people
cry. People tell me that Rashid's story, the poems and his pictures give
them support and comforts them and Rashid would have loved that. He was always a
very social little boy, he always paid attention if everybody around him was
having a good time. His last wish was that children would never die of cancer
and that a cure would soon be found.
Although my mind and
heart are filled with memories of Rashid, I have been thinking for several years
now of having a lasting memory of Rashid tattooed on my body. I could not decide
if this tattoo had to be a little bear or a dolphin. Also I wasn't sure if this
idea wasn't crazy; for many people a tattoo still has a negative sound. On the internet,
however, I saw so many parents who had a tattoo for their deceased child, which
convinced me more and more that my idea wasn't as crazy after all. And everybody
I told about my idea of having a tattoo said this was great. Noone gave me a
reaction like: "Don't do this" or " Crazy idea".
This year Rashid would
have been 15 years old. I thought it was the best time for me to have the
tattoo. I now knew that the tattoo had to be a dolphin. I also knew the place
where I wanted this tattoo: the place that is visible for me but not for others:
a place close to my heart: on my left breast.
In the weeks before
Rashid's birthday my husband and I visited tattooshops and browsed through thick
books full of pictures; eventually we found a shop where I felt "good".
I was reassured there and the boy behind the counter paid attention to my
wishes. He understood that this tattoo had a special meaning for me. He also
showed me the picture that I liked: a small dolphin with a banner on which
Rashid's name could be added. I am not sure if the boy understood that
Rashid had died. He did not say anything about it.
We made an
appointment for the 17th of April. I was very nervous, because I made the
decision to finally go through with what I had wanted for so long, but I was
also glad, because I felt comfortable with this boy and I trusted him. Finding
the right tattooshop and the perfect picture also gave me some peace. For a
second I wanted the tattoo to be made at that moment, but the urge to have
this done on Rashid's birthday was greater.
Thus, it became the 17th of
April 2003, the day on which Rashid was born 15 years ago. I had been sad and
down for days; because I wasn't allright physically I also felt my grief so much
more. How I missed Rashid. Keeping myself busy with Rashid's homepage and
making preparations for Rashid's birthday, gave me such a good feeling. I was
busy preparing Rashid's day like we were going to celebrate a "proper"
birthday, only without the birthday boy:
I bought balloons, a
heart-shaped candle, a card and a button with 15 on it, I bought a Mario shaped
lollypop, the figure that Rashid loved to play with so much on his Nintendo;
I had bought a new Action Man with a dolphin. Oh, how Rashid would
have loved this. And I had the appointment to have the tattoo made!
In the morning I first read
all my emails on the computer, and oh, there were so many: people whom I never
met in real life wished me and Karim strength today. It was so touching!
Just before leaving I also discovered that our cat Woody had
gotten hold of the helium filled balloons during the night. I found a pathetic
piece of balloon on the floor. I therefore decided to take all
"presents" for Rashid with me and get some new helium filled balloons
With bags full of things for Rashid and two new helium filled
balloons I finally arrived at the graveyard. People looked at me like if I went
to a party. If they only knew....
It was wonderful spring weather; the weather was so nice that
I did not need my coat at all. New blue violets had been planted on Rashid's
grave a few weeks ago and it looked so nice. A little parrot, of which there are
many nowadays on the graveyard, flew over my head into a tree nearby. It
felt as if Rashid greeted me. I became so calm.
I carefully attached the blue
balloon, that Karim was going to send up to Rashid that afternoon, to Rashid's
tombstone. I also hung the beautiful silver balloon, which said: Happy Birthday,
Rashid. It was such a pretty sight!
For a moment I had hung the other balloons to the bench and I
could just see that they were taken up into the air by the wind. I
felt like Rashid was playing one of his practical jokes on me, like he used to.
I looked at the balloons. There was no more time to take pictures. They got
stuck in a tree and later on I did take a picuter of that anyway. I
thought it was funny.
I put down the beautiful Action Man
with a dolphin, the Happy Meal, which Rashid loved so much and which I put
on his grave every year on his birthday since the day he died. I arranged all
other things on Rashid's grave and lit 15 candles for him. It looked so festive
that I took a few pictures.
Satisfied I sat down on the
bench for a while and enjoyed the warm sun. I was completely calm now. When my
husband arrived at noon I had also bought a bouquet of flowers in the meantime
and together we ate our sandwiches on Rashid's grave. It was hard to leave, but
I had an appointment in town....
A little nervous and very
excited at the same time we arrived at the tattooshop. I had to wait for a
while, so I had time to have a cup of coffee. Finally it was my turn. The
tattoo-artist introduced himself to me and reassured me. Then, very
meticulously, he went to work. He advised against the place low on my
breast where I wanted the tattoo and placed it a little bit higher. My husband
Hennie stayed with me and took pictures. I was nervous for the "needle".
Everybody I talked to had told me not to have a tattoo on my breast because it
was such a painful place: in a woman's breast there are so many nerves.
But I thought, that I had to be able to withstand the pain as it would be
nothing in comparison to the pain Rashid had to endure during his illness. I
would certainly be able to have a tattoo for him?
The needle was dipped into the ink....there
was no turning back. And it did not hurt as much as I thought. First the outline
was drawn and after that the colours were added, which was a little more
painful. But I looked at the whole process and saw the tattoo getting more and
I was so proud when the tattoo
was finished. I felt so excited. Endorphines flooded through my body which
probably caused me not to feel the pain too much. This was such a wonderful
experience!! I thanked the tattoo artist got some tips on how to take care
of the tattoo and then we could go outside. I was so proud that I wanted to show
my tattoo to everybody. This could never be taken away from me anymore.
Everywhere I will go my visible memory of you will go with me. I finally
We had agreed to meet Karim in town. He had also been at the
graveyard to see his brother and had released the blue balloon for Rashid.
Together we looked at the digital pictures of the making of the tattoo. Karim
was just as proud as I am. We ended the day by eating Rashid's favorite dish:
Apply for Rashid's
made especially for his 15th Birthday in Heaven.
Original Art Image by Lisa Jane