Colorful hummingbird tattoo becomes bonding experience

Amber Hebert planned to get her tattoo at Axis Tattoo and Piercings, in her home town of Corpus Christi, from artist Mathew Rosas; much to the displeasure of her parents. Only after explaining her motives, Hebert’s parents approved her decisions.

“I told my parents that I was going to get a tattoo and they were completely against it. I actually planned on going alone and I just told my parents that I was going to do it. My mom said no, and I told her what I was doing and she said, ‘I want a tattoo,’ ” Amber said.

In May of this year, Hebert and her mother got matching tattoos. A week later Hebert’s aunt got a tattoo similar to Hebert’s so that all three women would commemorate a loved one.

“My grandmother passed away in January of this year. I always liked tattoos [and] I thought this was a good first one [because] it was something very meaningful. Hummingbirds were [my grandmother’s] favorite thing,” Amber said.

Hebert’s grandmother lived in southern Louisiana. Hebert explained that her grandmother’s fascination with hummingbirds began one morning when she would read the newspaper and noticed the birds. From then on, Hebert’s grandmother had hummingbird feeders.

The family tattoos have become a bonding experience for both Hebert and her mother.

“[My mom] enjoys having a beautiful reminder of my grandma at all times and is glad she went through with it.” Hebert said.

Hebert said she wants to get a tattoo on her arm as well.

“[I want to get one] on my wrist; it’s the words, ‘I am.’ It’s from my favorite book: “The Bell Jar.” The protagonist has a lot of self-doubt. One of her friends dies and she has to go to the funeral but she really doesn’t want to. She has a really hard time with it, she says to herself, I am, I am, I am…”

The protagonist’s fear of death and her aversion to funerals struck a chord with Hebert.

“When I first read [the Bell Jar] I felt like I understood her, but when my grandma died I finally related to the character in a more real way.” Hebert said.