Birthday wishes to an angel
With hearts filled with love
Happy Birthday 
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 guestbook. 

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 first. 

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 more beautiful.  

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 did it! 

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: pizza hawai´.




Apply for Rashid's Birthday Award, 
made especially for  his 15th Birthday in  Heaven.

Original Art Image by Lisa Jane