“It was really hard for everyone. I feel like it was traumatizing in a lot of ways,” said Lydia Craft, Shreveport native and owner of Sweet Nothin’ Tattoo Shop.
Craft lost her father to suicide when she was a senior in high school preparing to go into college; her older sister was a freshman in college and her little brother was a freshman in high school.
His passing shifted their perspective on life, she said, “In that moment we all grew up.”
Craft focused on the tattoo industry, her sister became a health coach in Seattle, and her youngest brother became a manager for Facebook in New York City – all to make their father proud.
Together with her two siblings and mom acquired matching semicolon tattoos to commemorate his memory. She described her family as very loving and honest people who traditionally would not get a tattoo but made an exception for their dad.
“And that just let me know that it wasn’t really in his hands – as far as mental health goes. I think he made that choice because he felt completely helpless,” Craft affirmed her father was always a loving, supportive father and there were no telltale signs.
The semicolon (;) symbolizes continuation. The movement originated when Amy Bleuel shared her story on social media for anyone struggling with a mental illness to put a semicolon on their wrist to remind them “that a sentence wasn’t over yet, and neither was their life.”
“Just because there’s a facade of happiness and success doesn’t mean people aren’t going through a hard time and it’s really important to find an avenue of healing and release whether that’s scrapbooking or mowing the lawn”
Craft said her clients describe the flash tattoos as an ‘incredibly healing’ way to honor a person because when someone has lost a person by suicide, they’re often questioning themselves wondering what they could have done differently.
“A lot of people get tattoos to heal whatever is going on in their life and we end up gabbing whether it’s a breakup or a new job or you know whatever it may be,” she said, “a lot of people are telling me, it honors the person they’ve lost in a positive way.”
Her clients often say they have the chance to retell their lost loved one’s story and keep their memory alive.
Craft feels super fortunate to now own her studio. It’s appointment only which gives her the flexibility to focus on her daughter.