Nobody likes to think about death, but when you find out you have a terminal illness, you have no choice but to get your affairs in order. Some make plans to be buried in a cemetery next to family members, resting alongside their loved ones for eternity. Others choose cremation, scattering their ashes to the wind in a meaningful location, the remains of their body joining the vibrant life of the natural world.
However, 41-year-old tattoo artist Chris Wenzel made a dying wish that you definitely don’t hear every day. Wenzel suffered from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease in which the large intestine (colon) and rectum become inflamed. Medical treatment can reduce the symptoms, but there is no known cure, and the illness can have life-threatening complications. Realizing his life could be rudely cut short, he asked his wife, Cheryl, to skin his body, so his decorative tattoo art would be preserved.
Some people might find this decision shocking, but tattoo art was an essential part of Chris’ life. When he was only nine years, he completed his first tattoo on his went. When he grew up, he went on to own Electric Underground Tattoo and ink clients in Saskatoon, Canada. He also tattooed his wife, Cheryl, who was pretty unfazed by his final request.
“I thought, that’s different, but yeah, that’s cool,” she told The Globe and Mail. “I don’t care what it takes, I’m going to get this done for him. You can hang a picture on a wall. A tattoo is something that has been done for hundreds of years. It’s just preserving it.”
After complaining about chest pains, Chris died of his sleep last October. Cheryl investigated place that could fulfill his unique dying wish, and found Save My Ink Forever. The Ohio-based company specializes in preserving body art after death, creating an everlasting memorial for loved ones.
“Tattoos, you know, tell a story about a person,” said Kyle Sherwood, the master embalmer and funeral director, speaking with CTV Saskatoon. “And for someone to get something tattooed on them that they’re displaying for life, you know, means something to them. You wouldn’t burn or bury a Picasso and that’s what some of these pieces are.”
Widow holding portrait of dead husband who was a tattoo artist Credit: CTV
Save My Ink Forever used a special formula to surgically remove Chris’ skin, then carefully preserved his precious body art in a frame. The complicated process took three months and cost an astonishing $70,700. (Luckily, some family and friends chipped in on GoFundMe.) Cheryl said she plans to hang her husband’s skin art in his tattoo studio, where his children, 9 and 13, can admire it. And when she dies, she’d like her body art to be preserved too, and be displayed right by his.
Chris and Cheryl’s decision might sound grisly, but remember, you’re only only in this world for so long. You’ve got to live your life, and afterlife, in a way that brings you happiness.
Source: Viral Thread