25 Tattoos That Are Actually Really Heartwarming

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People get tattoos for any number of reasons. Some people want to stand out and express themselves. Some want to demonstrate their love for another person, a sports team, a place. And others use tattoos to remember, to show support, and to express deeper feelings that are hard to show in any other form. Here’s a collection of 25 profoundly meaningful tattoos.

She has a birthmark. So he got a tattoo to match it. Now she’s no longer different from everyone else. And she can know that the mark on her arm can’t possibly be ugly if her dad is so willing to also have it.

Her father’s illness causes progressive deterioration. She knows she’s losing him slowly and permanently. But now he’ll always be with her.

A parent’s dying wish is for his daughter to know, to always remember, that he loved her. And now she can never forget. His words and handwriting are forever memorialized so she can keep him with her always.

What a sweet and funny way to memorialize her father! This tattoo has so much sentiment and humor. You know her dad would have loved it.

New Zealander Alistair Campbell got his first tattoo to match his 6-year-old daughter’s implant. Now he has a second to match his son. This dad’s support and devotion is so plain to see and heartwarming!

“This was the house I grew up in. This is what happened on June 28, 2017. A propane leak caused the entire first floor to blow out of a 3 story house. Killing my parents and my German shepherd. Aftermath: everything was destroyed except for a few pictures. I’m not posting this to get sympathy. I’m posting it to let you know that terrible shit HAPPENS. But when things go up in flames (literally or figuratively), you pick up what’s left, and move forward. Rely on your support system. It’s okay to cry. To get therapy. To want to be with the people you lost. Nothing will ever truly heal, but you can at least try.” (Click through the photos to see the whole story.)

When I was 17, I was very depressed and had several suicide attempts. About six months from the last one, I was in the movie theater with my boyfriend when I had an abscess pass through my lung and I passed out and stopped breathing. I realized that I didn’t want to die The heart monitor lines were taken from my EKG done after I came to.Lucifers_Plaything

This tattoo is a reference to a particularly great song from a Steven Universe episode called “Mindful Education.” It’s essentially an episode of a popular sci-fi cartoon that teaches kids how to mediate. What an incredible show.

This is a serotonin molecule, the chemical that makes us feel happy. A lot of people with depression have something off that prevents their brain from making enough. That’s why it’s very cool to see someone just take it into their own hands.

The idea that a) a grandfather would have this go-to phrase to encourage his grandkid and that b) that that grandkid would get that phrase tattooed on his arm just makes this the sweetest tattoo I could ever imagine.

Imagine having a mom who said nice things to you like “you glow from within” instead of convincing you you were rotten and manipulative at the core. Can you even imagine that?

These handwriting tattoos are so lovely, and they solve a pretty difficult problem anyone getting a word tattoo has to grapple with: what frickin’ font do I want this in?

Since getting this tattoo, this person has found themselves literally incapable of doing anything bad. They even started jaywalking, but then saw the tattoo, and walked to the corner.

This tattoo, of this person’s parents on the night they eloped, is both simple and evocative. It’s pretty perfect.

If you get a picture rendered too realistically on your arm, it starts to look creepy, like the person or people are watching you at all times. An outline solves that problem altogether.

This woman’s son was 10.5 inches long when he was born. Now she’ll always remember how big he was when she first met him.

Kinley, Sage, and Skye have a pretty great mom. Not only does she like them enough to have their names tattooed on her shoulder, but she also has taste, because that tattoo and its placement look incredible.

A lot of parents collect all their kids’ artwork, and they end up with boxes and boxes in the basement of child artwork and moving becomes a huge headache. To me, this is a great solution — just tattoo the stuff you like the best on your arm!

This is kind of the sentiment of the season four finale of This Is Us. I’m not saying that show’s writers ripped off this guy’s tattoo, but I’m also not not saying that show’s writers ripped off this guy’s tattoo.

This is kind of the perfect storm of a nice handwriting tattoo. The handwriting itself is lovely, the message is inspiring, and the meaning is clear.

This person got a flower tattoo in memorial of their grandma, and man, has there ever been a grandma who didn’t love flowers? It’s like their thing.

This person didn’t post the full story of their tattoo, so it’s unclear if the grandma was called “Kitty Grandma” or if this is a signature from a letter from grandma and she called her granddaughter “Kitty.” Either way, it is very sweet.

I am enamored with the sketchy, splotchy style of these balloons. They look beautiful.

This man got this tattoo after his daughter, Ruby, passed away. I kind of can’t handle this one.

This person got this tattoo in memory of their mother, who must have argued ferociously, like a tiger, that no, she loved her child more than her child loved her.

The person who has this tattoo told the story behind it: Memorial tattoo for our babies with the happy date – when we heard their heartbeats and found out they were twins.omdriver

I love this tattoo, if only because raising a beer is such a simple, quiet gesture that keeps the people we’ve loved in our minds.

The story behind this tattoo is very cute: It is not misspelled or anything. My grandfather was an old Italian man and he always would tell everyone to “take it ease.” It was a little quirk to him that I loved so much.danielarose

What is it about asking to be sang about that devastates me so much? I wonder if it has to do with the classical understanding of singing being something you do when you’re happy? As though this person, as they’re passing away, is asking their loved one to be happy when they remember them.

I’ll be honest, when I first saw this tattoo, I missed the different colorings of the different Deathly Hallows pieces. I thought, “Wouldn’t it have been cooler if they’d all chosen the Deathly Hallow that meant the most to them and just had that tattooed on themselves?” Glad they got there well ahead of me.

When I was a kid I lived with my grandparents (still live with my grandma at almost 20). Grandpa died my senior year when I was 17. He was one of the most important people in my life. He and I were super close and we would go out and look at Christmas lights every year up until I was in grade 8. And he was too sick to go out anymore. I decided one day I was gonna get a bulb for him. Had my artist draw it up and he did a wonderful job. I look at it all the time and it makes me smile.darkangel_401

My parents met, got married, and had me in Key West. My mom has always called her conch baby.Chamizard

This just sums up their personalities instantly. The mom was a bookworm, the dad the perennial photographer. I feel like I know these people.

This person got his parents’ zodiac constellations tattooed on themselves and then added this beautiful, longing sentiment to them.

How cute is this? As someone who used to go fishing with his grandpa as a kid, I can say that there’s no better way to get close to your grandpa than fishing. Weirdly, this only works with grandpas. You will not grow closer with your cousins, uncles, or accountants when you go fishing together. Keep that in mind.

While this mom surely never intended this little sticky note to hold so much significance, the sentiment behind it is everything. All the little things parents do for their kids, the little notes, the good night kisses – that’s the stuff that matters.

A parent should never have to remember a last laugh. This dad found himself in that unthinkable situation. Now his son’s laugh is always carried close to his heart.

A sweet copy of a child’s drawing and handwriting can freeze time. This heartwarming tattoo must be a comfort to a mom whose child is no longer an affectionate little kid, but a moody teen, or a fully grown adult maybe living far away.

This is what we want our kids to know, to really know in their bones. We tell them we love them, that we’re proud. If this dad could somehow know that his words are forever printed on his child, I’m sure he’d be pleased.

Each stripe represents an important person who has passed away. This woman will never be without her loved ones now. We love the thought behind this, and the simple design.

“Story behind the tattoo: My father passed away before I was born, so I never met him. But everyone who knew him has always told me that I am exactly like him. Then in my senior year of high school, out of a list of literally thousands of books, I randomly chose to read All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. When my mom saw that I was reading it, she got very excited and ran into her room. She brought out a copy of All the Pretty Horses from 1993, bookmarked to page 128. It was the book my father was reading before he passed away. So I got a tattoo to memorialize my father and the connection I have with him despite the fact that I never met him.”

“I’ll just go get the pony now.” You can sense the love, wonder, and joy in that last line.

Hopefully his arm is full of tally marks as the years go by.

Once a big brother, always a big brother. This man clearly loved and looked up to his older sibling.

“I love you, Sean, Christine Let’s celebrate 99 years with a cruise I’m Christine, Sean is my brother. My parents had a joke that they had a 99 year lease with each other and they would discuss renewing it after 99 years. They loved to go on cruises together, and my dad was a Navy vet, which is why he drew the boat. He was trying to say that he wanted to renew the lease early and go on a cruise. His handwriting was so poor because he was so weak, on so much Fentanyl, and a tumor in his right humerus caused his arm to break, so he was trying to go lefty.”

“My dad passed away last November and I had the funeral home take his handprint for me and I got it tattooed on my back.”

We love this one. Any parent knows and understands the desire to take the pain to save the child from it. But sometimes we can’t. But we can always stand by their sides.

Her explanation: “my father passed on valentines day 2 days before i turned 18, i thought this quote from a prayer said during his funeral was perfect.. he had written a birthday card about 30 minutes before his heart attack and it was signed ” love ya, dad” so i had his hand writting put below the quote. located on my back upper left shoulder”

“The day my dad died, my step mom asked if he could send her a cardinal. Since then, they’ve showed up in many different places. Cards, clothes, a figurine my mother sent her. I’m sure it’s because we’re looking for them but it has brought us a lot of comfort. So the red bird is for him. The blue birds are for his parents, my gram and poppa. My poppa could mimic so many bird calls. My gram would give my sister and I blue bird figurines for major life events. They helped raise us and I miss them terribly. This tattoo really means a lot to me and I wanted to share it.”

We love these sound wave tattoos! What a wonderful celebration of a person’s life and joy.

This set of tattoos is a big reminder of a tremendous loss.

If this daughter ever doubted that she was loved and supported, she doesn’t now.

We absolutely love this one. The drawing is impossibly sweet and tender, and the sentiment behind it is so beautiful and supportive.

What do you think? Are tattoos a good way to express heartfelt emotions?