Everyone processes grief and dying differently. What’s meaningful and a comfort to one person doesn’t necessarily apply to another.
There isn’t a “right way” to grieve, as a WebMD article put it.
One Ohio man’s response to being told by doctors that he had only months to live involved getting tattoos, according to the New York Post.
Don Caskey, 56, was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma 2018, according to the U.K. Daily Star.
At the time, he was told he had only months to live. But he has been defying that limit for quite a while now.
One of Caskey’s dying wishes was that he would be remembered after he was gone. His way of making that happen was to ask others to get matching tattoos with him.
He started with family. The idea came to him one day as he was sitting on his son’s back porch.
“I realized [that] I remembered when I got all of my tattoos and what they meant,” he said. “I figured that those memories of the tattoos will go with me when I passed away.”
As he continued to live beyond the original time frame of months, his illness shifted his perspective. He began to reach out to random strangers with his request.
“All the material things are cool, I guess, but they really don’t mean much,” he said in a news segment aired by WTTV in Bloomington, Indiana.
“When I got sick, I lost everything,” he said. “And I realized real quick the only thing that’s really important in life is other people.”
That’s when he made an attempt to try to build some relationships with people.
“I started asking random people if they wanted to get matching tattoos with me. And most of them thought I was pretty crazy at first.”
As he continued with his request to various random people, there were about 12 students from Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College who decided to jump on board, according to WTTV.
The number of those interested grew over time, and there are now over 600 other strangers who have responded to his request — 609 actually, according to the New York Post.
Caskey said he feels that everyone has something in common.
So when he gets the chance to meet with others, he looks for common ground as a way to connect as he goes about making his tattoo memories.
Caskey has tattoos with individuals from six different countries — the U.S., Australia, Costa Rica, England, New Zealand and Scotland — and he intends to continue reaching out to others with his request as long as he’s alive.
His goal is to have his body completely covered by the time he actually passes away.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.