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bearSheila Schlaggar
~for my “Bear”

My husband, Barry, and I shared a love of bears, especially polar bears. Probably because of our shared love of bears and his huge physical presence, his nickname was “Bear”. He was fairly tall with broad shoulders, muscular arms, and an expansive chest. We developed quite a collection of bears and bear-related items over the years. When he died, I decided to keep him close by getting a tattoo, a polar bear cub tattoo, on my left hip—just for me.

For my 70th birthday, my cousin, Laura, took me to a tattoo parlor in Chicago where I carried with me a small figure of a polar bear cub to show the artist. I was both excited and nervous. Friends and family were surprised that I got this tattoo, but I felt that by getting it, Barry would always be physically with me. While I was getting my tattoo, Laura kept me company as we laughed and talked about the symbolism of the bear. I felt an excitement and a satisfaction while the artist worked and that excitement and satisfaction has stayed with me since getting the tattoo five years ago. When I look at my left hip, I can see my husband and see my husband. I can feel his presence. I smile.


Copyright © behind-the-ink, Nancy Perlson