25+ Tattoo Stories Which Are Guaranteed To Warm Your Heart

25+ Tattoo Stories Which Are Guaranteed To Warm Your Heart

Buzzfeed asked members of their community recently to come forward and share their most sentimental tattoos and their meanings- and it’s safe to say there’s a LOT of freakin’ lovely tatts out there with some truly beautiful messages behind them! Here’s some of our favourites…

Get the tissues at the ready…

1. “I don’t like you” 

"When I was a baby/growing up, the song my mom would always sing to me was 'You Really Got a Hold on Me', the Beatles version. I got the first line of the song tattooed — 'I don’t like you' — and she got the second — 'but i love you'. I love the way it's funny and stands on its own, while at the same time being so important and special to me." — Lex7d7

“When I was a baby/growing up, the song my mom would always sing to me was ‘You Really Got a Hold on Me’, the Beatles version. I got the first line of the song tattooed — ‘I don’t like you’ — and she got the second — ‘but I love you’.”

“I love the way it’s funny and stands on its own, while at the same time being so important and special to me.”

 

2. This beautiful Corelle plates design…

"My sister and I have the design from the Corelle plates we grew up with. Any time I’m homesick, or missing our Mom who passed in 2010, I can just look at my arm and remember all of us sitting around the table spending time together, being connected." — hebmike

“My sister and I have the design from the Corelle plates we grew up with. Any time I’m homesick or missing our Mom who passed in 2010, I can just look at my arm and remember all of us sitting around the table spending time together, being connected.”

 

3. “My little angel” 

"My grandmother took care of me since I was born. She kept a journal of the first year of watching me with every movement I made! She passed away on my birthday this October and I decided to get a tattoo done in her handwriting. She always referred to me as “my little angel” in the journal. I was her’s, but now she’s mine." — emmaf45380552f

“My grandmother took care of me since I was born. She kept a journal of the first year of watching me with every movement I made! She passed away on my birthday this October and I decided to get a tattoo done in her handwriting. She always referred to me as “my little angel” in the journal. I was her’s, but now she’s mine.”

4. This gorgeous work of art…

"I studied abroad as an Art Major in Florence and have visited a few times since. On my last visit I sat beside the Arno River and drew a sketch of the Ponte Vecchio, and got my sketch tattooed on my arm the next day. I love that my favorite city and a piece of my own art is always with me." — andread4378df17b

“I studied abroad as an Art Major in Florence and have visited a few times since. On my last visit, I sat beside the Arno River and drew a sketch of the Ponte Vecchio, and got my sketch tattooed on my arm the next day. I love that my favorite city and a piece of my own art is always with me.”

 

5. “I’ve always said he’s the only person’s name I’d ever get tattooed on me.”

"My older brother has Down Syndrome and he wrote me this note when I went off to college. I got it in his handwriting as well. I’ve always said he’s the only person’s name I’d ever get tattooed on me." — christinav4fd89592d

“My older brother has Down Syndrome and he wrote me this note when I went off to college. I got it in his handwriting as well. I’ve always said he’s the only person’s name I’d ever get tattooed on me.”

 

6. This lovely sentiment… 

"My brother died unexpectedly very young. We always drank chocolate milk since childhood all the way into adulthood. We have specific cups we drink out of so I got his cup on my wrist. Now when I drink my chocolate milk it's like we're still drinking it together." — idalydtineo

“My brother died unexpectedly very young. We always drank chocolate milk since childhood all the way into adulthood. We have specific cups we drink out of so I got his cup on my wrist. Now when I drink my chocolate milk it’s like we’re still drinking it together.”

 

7. This incredible star chart…

"This tattoo was a present to myself on my son’s 2nd birthday. It is a star chart of the sky at the exact moment of his birth. He is a healthy and vibrant two year old, but his birth was traumatic for both of us and this tattoo was meant to honor how his birth changed me." — alexandraatwelll

“This tattoo was a present to me on my son’s 2nd birthday. It is a star chart of the sky at the exact moment of his birth. He is a healthy and vibrant two-year-old, but his birth was traumatic for both of us and this tattoo was meant to honor how his birth changed me.”

8. This cool Nightcrawler tattoo…

"I grew up thinking of myself as something of a monster. I never really fit anyone's idea of what a girl should be and it turns out that being non-binary probably had something to do with that. When I was living in the children's home, I discovered the X-Men through some very old comics that someone had donated. I immediately identified with Nightcrawler. He looks like a demon, but he's probably the kindest superhero out there. Basically, he's who I wanted to be when I grew up and (to an extent) that's still true. Getting this tattoo was a form of armour." — NoliTimere

“I grew up thinking of myself as something of a monster. I never really fit anyone’s idea of what a girl should be and it turns out that being non-binary probably had something to do with that. When I was living in the children’s home, I discovered the X-Men through some very old comics that someone had donated.”

“I immediately identified with Nightcrawler. He looks like a demon, but he’s probably the kindest superhero out there. Basically, he’s who I wanted to be when I grew up and (to an extent) that’s still true. Getting this tattoo was a form of armor.”

 

9. Simple yet effective…

"I got '17' in Roman numerals last year, when I was 16. I am adopted and don’t know much about my birth parents, but that my birth mother was 17 when I changed her life." — kelseyr4db83a9b0

“I got ’17’ in Roman numerals last year when I was 16. I am adopted and don’t know much about my birth parents, but that my birth mother was 17 when I changed her life.”

10. This important reminder…

"A myriad of mental health issues have made simple tasks like getting out of bed seem impossible. This is a reminder that, in those impossible moments, getting up and "moving" is a quick way to feel better." — livvbit

“A myriad of mental health issues have made simple tasks like getting out of bed to seem impossible. This is a reminder that, in those impossible moments, getting up and “moving” is a quick way to feel better.”

11. This bittersweet memory…

"A couple years ago my boyfriend decided to end his life. He left this note on our fridge chalkboard a couple months prior...I'm thankful I decided to take a picture of it. It's a good little reminder/memorial tattoo." — stephmt

“A couple years ago my boyfriend decided to end his life. He left this note on our fridge chalkboard a couple months prior… I’m thankful I decided to take a picture of it. It’s a good little reminder/memorial tattoo.”

12. This lovely sentiment…

"This is a tattoo I got in honor of my grandfather. I took a photo of a tree that was in my grandparent's backyard and had my artist use that as the source for the tattoo. My grandpa always said that he wanted to put a tire swing in the tree for me, but he became too sick to see it come to fruition. He suffered from cystic fibrosis and passed away after struggling for years." — sarahs7803

“This is a tattoo I got in honor of my grandfather. I took a photo of a tree that was in my grandparent’s backyard and had my artist use that as the source for the tattoo. My grandpa always said that he wanted to put a tire swing in the tree for me, but he became too sick to see it come to fruition. He suffered from cystic fibrosis and passed away after struggling for years.”

13. This colorful tribute…

"My older sister passed away very suddenly two years ago from a brain aneurysm. She was only 36 years and left behind two teenage children. While she was on life support they asked if she would want her organs donated. She lived with type one diabetes her whole life, so we never thought this was an option. To our surprise they were able to take her kidneys and lungs along with large amount of tissue (skin, bone, muscle etc.). I knew from that day I wanted to mark on myself that I was going to be an organ donor. The cow was her favourite animal (like obsessed with the things). She was able to help countless people live and someday I hope to follow in her footsteps." — ashleyb48576a12c

“My older sister passed away very suddenly two years ago from a brain aneurysm. She was only 36 years and left behind two teenage children. While she was on life support they asked if she would want her organs donated. She lived with type one diabetes her whole life, so we never thought this was an option. To our surprise, they were able to take her kidneys and lungs along with large amount of tissue (skin, bone, muscle etc.). I knew from that day I wanted to mark on myself that I was going to be an organ donor. The cow was her favorite animal (like obsessed with the things). She was able to help countless people live and someday I hope to follow in her footsteps.”

14. These 3 hidden meanings…

"My husband and I had been discussing our tattoo ideas for a while. I'm glad that a wine buzz inspired this design. It has multiple meanings. 1) Jesus fish since we are Jesus people, 2) interlocking to symbolise we are together in everything, and 3) we met on Plenty of Fish, the dating site. I love that these are on the opposite arm and visible when we hold hands." — lyonsemma16

“My husband and I had been discussing our tattoo ideas for a while. I’m glad that a wine buzz inspired this design. It has multiple meanings. 1) Jesus fish since we are Jesus people, 2) interlocking to symbolize we are together in everything, and 3) we met on Plenty of Fish, the dating site. I love that these are on the opposite arm and visible when we hold hands.”

15. This beautiful silhouette…

"My mother has fought off melanoma on numerous occasions. She completed treatment for her second diagnosis when I decided to get this tattoo. The silhouette describes a special memory I have with my mom. When I was little she used to hold my hand and count to three and she would twirl me under her arm. Now, I’m too tall (I’m 5’10 and she’s 5’2) so when we walk together I twirl her under my arm. The watercolour incorporates our favourite colours." — maddsb

“My mother has fought off melanoma on numerous occasions. She completed treatment for her second diagnosis when I decided to get this tattoo. The silhouette describes a special memory I have with my mom. When I was little she used to hold my hand and count to three and she would twirl me under her arm. Now, I’m too tall (I’m 5’10 and she’s 5’2) so when we walk together I twirl her under my arm. The watercolor incorporates our favorite colors.”

16. A take on reincarnation…

"My brother passed away in January 2017. I don’t believe in [reincarnation] but the day after he passed, a cardinal was sitting on his window sill and it refused to move. We could touch it. Then for the next few days, a group of blue birds sat where he used to park his car. My brother wore a black bomber vest with his home made patches all over it and also a green jacket all the time that is why the birds are wearing them." — kannsimmers

“My brother passed away in January 2017. I don’t believe in [reincarnation] but the day after he passed, a cardinal was sitting on his window sill and it refused to move. We could touch it. Then for the next few days, a group of bluebirds sat where he used to park his car. My brother wore a black bomber vest with his homemade patches all over it and also a green jacket all the time that is why the birds are wearing them.”

17. The second made us cry! 

"I have 2 significant tattoos. The top one is from after my stepdad passed away and is on the back of my neck. Les Miserables was his favourite show, and 'I Dreamed a Dream' his favourite song from the show. I had my mom write this so I could get the tattoo in bee handwriting, since the 3 of us had a bond over it.The second is from after my dad passed away. We both love sunflowers and always tried to grow giant tall ones. We also really love the Beatles, and 'Here Comes the Sun' was going to be our father/daughter dance song if I ever got married. I pieced the words together using old letters of his that were left to me." — colleeng47495b9fc

“I have 2 significant tattoos. The top one is from after my stepdad passed away and is on the back of my neck. Les Miserables was his favorite show, and ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ his favorite song from the show. I had my mom write this so I could get the tattoo in bee handwriting since the 3 of us had a bond over it.

The second is from after my dad passed away. We both love sunflowers and always tried to grow giant tall ones. We also really love the Beatles, and ‘Here Comes the Sun’ was going to be our father/daughter dance song if I ever got married. I pieced the words together using old letters of his that were left to me.”

18. 45 years! 

"My parents just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. Their love and support through the years has meant everything." — Greta Coalier

“My parents just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. Their love and support through the years has meant everything.”

19. This amazing symbol of strength…

"I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 17. I was devastated. Then I discovered the spoon theory. The spoon theory means that those with any sort of chronic fatigue like lupus or fibromyalgia, have to “count their spoons” or energy levels, and use them wisely. I got this tattoo so I would never run out of spoons, I always have an extra one on hand. The butterfly is the symbol for lupus, due to the butterfly rash many lupus patients, including myself, often have. The tattoo as a whole allows me to be confident about my illness and educate others about it." — rachaelbrooker

“I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 17. I was devastated. Then I discovered the spoon theory. The spoon theory means that those with any sort of chronic fatigue like lupus or fibromyalgia, have to “count their spoons” or energy levels, and use them wisely. I got this tattoo so I would never run out of spoons, I always have an extra one on hand. The butterfly is the symbol for lupus, due to the butterfly rash many lupus patients, including myself, often have. The tattoo as a whole allows me to be confident about my illness and educate others about it.”

20. “I do!”

"One of my symptoms of bipolar disorder is having suicidal ideation nearly every day. Though I am thankful that I haven't lost my daily fight, it is still an active battle more often than not. The chorus of Linkin Park's 'One More Light' is one that I regularly repeat to myself, as the rational parts of my brain know that I belong here. I finally opened up about my struggle to close friends and family, and I asked them each to write the words 'I do' to help me always remember that I have love and people who care if my light goes out." — NJDevilsgrrrl

“One of my symptoms of bipolar disorder is having suicidal ideation nearly every day. Though I am thankful that I haven’t lost my daily fight, it is still an active battle more often than not. The chorus of Linkin Park’s ‘One More Light’ is one that I regularly repeat to myself, as the rational parts of my brain know that I belong here. I finally opened up about my struggle to close friends and family, and I asked them each to write the words ‘I do’ to help me always remember that I have love and people who care if my light goes out.”

21. This secret message…

"My sisters and I are all very close, and we had been toying with the idea of getting matching tattoos, but hadn’t settled on anything. Two years ago, when one of my sisters left to go to college in another state, we decided to get 'sisters' written in Morse code. I have it on my arm because I carry them with me, my sister has it on her foot because she walks in our footsteps, and when my youngest sister turns 18, she’ll get it on her back because we always have her back." — liza4cffc3ca3

“My sisters and I are all very close, and we had been toying with the idea of getting matching tattoos, but hadn’t settled on anything. Two years ago, when one of my sisters left to go to college in another state, we decided to get ‘sisters’ written in Morse code. I have it on my arm because I carry them with me, my sister has it on her foot because she walks in our footsteps, and when my youngest sister turns 18, she’ll get it on her back because we always have her back.”

22. The guardian of the souls of children…

"I had a miscarriage when I was 19, which was incredibly hard to process for a long time. I’d never gotten a tattoo before, and I knew I wanted my first one to be meaningful. After a lot of research, I found the boddhisattva ksitigharba, guardian of the souls of children who died before their parents. The story goes that he keeps them safe until their parents also pass and they can enter heaven together. He’s also the protector of travelers, which is a bonus, since a couple years later I became a flight attendant. Now he watches over us both!" — sarif

“I had a miscarriage when I was 19, which was incredibly hard to process for a long time. I’d never gotten a tattoo before, and I knew I wanted my first one to be meaningful. After a lot of research, I found the boddhisattva ksitigharba, guardian of the souls of children who died before their parents. The story goes that he keeps them safe until their parents also pass and they can enter heaven together. He’s also the protector of travelers, which is a bonus since a couple years later I became a flight attendant. Now he watches over us both!”

23. “I knew I needed to turn it into a tattoo…”

"I was in New York City on a trip when I was diagnosed with HIV. After I found out, I wrote postcards to my friends and family back in Nebraska. About a year after I found out, I saw the postcard I had sent my sister. As soon as I saw the stamp at the top of the postcard, I knew I needed to turn it into a tattoo. I added the skyline of NYC ending in Nebraska on the 5th anniversary of being diagnosed with HIV." — andyd4cff930db

“I was in New York City on a trip when I was diagnosed with HIV. After I found out, I wrote postcards to my friends and family back in Nebraska. About a year after I found out, I saw the postcard I had sent my sister. As soon as I saw the stamp at the top of the postcard, I knew I needed to turn it into a tattoo. I added the skyline of NYC ending in Nebraska on the 5th anniversary of being diagnosed with HIV.”

24. This calming ink

"I got my anxiety breathing structure in memory of all the trials I've gone through fighting with my social anxiety disorder. Any time I felt like I was about to have a panic attack I would just look down at my tattoo and it would help calm me down." — kelseylayneb

“I got my anxiety breathing structure in memory of all the trials I’ve gone through fighting with my social anxiety disorder. Any time I felt like I was about to have a panic attack I would just look down at my tattoo and it would help calm me down.”

25.  “I got this tattooed on me in tribute to two of the strongest women I know…”

"My Granny always had her hair in a perfect bun her entire life, held by at least a dozen hairpins. When she passed away from cancer, my mum, a great believer in guardian angels, would find them in the strangest of places. We have taken an oddly placed hairpin to be a sign of my Gran's presence or simply a good omen. I got this tattooed on me in tribute to two of the strongest women I know. I have 8 tattoos but this seems to be the one everyone asks me about and I never tire of telling people about my Granny." — s43d48601b

“My Granny always had her hair in a perfect bun her entire life, held by at least a dozen hairpins. When she passed away from cancer, my mum, a great believer in guardian angels, would find them in the strangest of places. We have taken an oddly placed hairpin to be a sign of my Gran’s presence or simply a good omen. I got this tattooed on me in tribute to two of the strongest women I know. I have 8 tattoos but this seems to be the one everyone asks me about and I never tire of telling people about my Granny.”

26. This sad but sweet gesture…

"Over the summer, my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given just months to live. He drew three symbols on his ankle before he went into surgery and told me they mean 'be open to change', 'create your own destiny', and 'where there’s a will there’s a way'. When he started chemo, I took him to a tattoo parlour and got him his very first tattoo. He passed away last month a few days before I turned 21, but now I’ll always have a piece of him with me to give me some fatherly advice when I need it." — katew466be59dd

“Over the summer, my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given just months to live. He drew three symbols on his ankle before he went into surgery and told me they mean ‘be open to change’, ‘create your own destiny’, and ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. When he started chemo, I took him to a tattoo parlor and got him his very first tattoo. He passed away last month a few days before I turned 21, but now I’ll always have a piece of him with me to give me some fatherly advice when I need it.”

Do you have any meaningful tattoos? Let us know in the comments- we’d love to hear your stories!

 

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