Bongo Bong for Trent Holt
The handheld computer I use for journaling recently dumped all my files. Don’t ask me why – it was explained to me in Spanish. The entries contained a few months worth of family, as well as personal, journal entries. Many were of significant importance, but several entries in particular continues to haunt me as a great loss. You see, the December prior, my oldest and dearest friends lost their thirteen year old son to a gun accident. The loss of a child is inconceivable to most of us. It’s an incident that does not seem fair to fall within our sequence of life. We should not outlive our kids. Seems simple enough. I wrestled with this horrific tragedy in my journal. With never having had a chance to re-read my sometimes tear drenched writings even once, they were dumped into cyberspace, or wherever. Although I’m sure the therapeutic act of writing my feelings down alone helped, never to find solace in those written memories again is tough. I wanted those forever. Unbelievable as this loss still seems, it fails infinitely to the greater loss. I’ve thought of trying to recreate some of these entries but I know that I can never experience that raw, numb and confusing state in which shock and sadness try to make sense of life’s purpose, existence, and “fairness”, again. So, I did what most people would do, I got a tattoo.
I never wanted a tattoo. I just never could come up with something I liked enough to put on my body, forever. I never could imagine having a rose, tazmanian devil or yinyang, void of any true connection to me, inked into my skin. No offense to those with a big, fat, slobbering Taz tattooed on their back, thats just me. My sister has a rose, and let me say right here and now, I just love it. And as for having “mom” tattooed on yourself. Well, come on, does anyone really need to say they have a connection to their mother? Of the one thing responsible for all of us, it’s mom.
On December 17th of the previous year, Richard and LeighAnn Holt, (Holt, as in our son, Holt Hickman) lost their thirteen year old son Trent for the rest of this life. Needless to say, they, we, everyone, was and still is, devistated. Trent was a kid of unmatched personality, caring and genuiness. One of Trent’s favorite songs is played often in our home, Manu Chao’s “Bongo Bong”. A line in the song reads; “I’m so happy there’s nobody in my place instead of me”. That line is SO Trent. He was happy to be wherever he was, in his own skin. He will never be forgotten and many lives will be affected forever. This passing has spurred many, some that didn’t even know him, two counties away, to question their genuine person here in this life and how they interact with every other living thing. In short, his memory helps me, and many others, strive to be a better person, husband, father and friend, everyday.
While we were home in Tennessee the following June, Trent’s older brother Zach, decided to get his younger brother’s initials tattooed down the side of his rib cage. Oouuch! Couldn’t you do it somewhere not so darn sensitive Zach. But, there was an idea. A tattoo I wanted for the rest of my life. A reminder not just of Trent, but of my friends who have lost a son, a part of them has been taken. For me, the memory alone was not enough, whether it be sad or happy ones. I
wanted to offer my constant, neverending company in their pain and struggle for the rest of my life. A tattoo would serve as a string around the finger, reminding me of the hole in so many hearts. However, I would NOT be getting it down the length of my ribcage.
I chose a robust Tree of Life for its symbolism of us all and the earth being interconnected. It has one solitary falling leaf, or life, returning to earth to provide life again for the tree and other leaves/lives. His initials are within the circle of life. Let me say here, I’ve never witnessed a more supportive and loving community of family and friends than Richard and LeighAnn have. In that, they are very fortunate. I cannot be with my friends to offer day to day support, a open ear or just presence of a friend, but this tattoo will help me be with them in thought, pain and prayer. Reflective ink; bringing pain, happiness for being touched by this soul, struggles to understand and learn. And I know, Trent just loves having his initials tattooed on somebody. We miss you little T.
With never ending love to Richard, Lele, Zach and all the family and friends that make the unimaginable, manageable.