Charlotte, 68, is a resident of Brookdale Club Hill in Garland, TX and has always wanted a tattoo. More than a decoration, Charlotte’s dream ink is a tribute to her beloved son, Bradley, who was born with Down’s syndrome and passed away about 15 years ago at the age of 35. When she talks about him, Charlotte says, “let’s just put it this way, my son was my life.” She was absolutely devoted to him and did everything she could to give him a full and productive life.
Bradley absorbed everything he ever learned and was a kind, responsible, and dependable person. Bradley worked in several places over the years, including the local grocery store and the family’s church. No matter what job he was doing, Bradley was always very well-dressed, and he famously had a tie in every color to go with all of his outfits. He was well-loved by everyone who knew him, and no one was ever more proud of him than Charlotte. When Bradley passed away in his thirties, as a result of having Down’s syndrome, Charlotte was devastated. She thinks about him every day and says she, “still misses her baby.” Charlotte has always been interested in tattoos and loves the way that each one is unique and means something special to that individual. Her mom still jokes with Charlotte saying that she’s not allowed to get a tattoo, and Charlotte jokes back saying that, “[I’m] way too old for her to tell me no.”
Charlotte had wanted to commemorate Bradley in the form of a tattoo for many years – something she could look at every day and think of her son. She feels that it would bring him back in a way and keep him closer to her. Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale were thrilled to work with Clynt Costley, a tattoo artist with Alterity Collectors Union in Wylie, TX, who designed and gave Charlotte a tattoo that really encompassed who Bradley was as a person. The tattoo included Bradley’s distinguished necktie, his glasses, and full name. The colors of the tattoo were Blue and Yellow which represented the high school that both Bradley and Charlotte attended – Garland High School. Charlotte said the most surprising thing about the experience was how easy and pain-free it was. She also felt as if Clynt’s tattoo design was better than she could have ever imagined. After the tattoo was finished and the ink settled, Charlotte stated that, “this is the closest I have felt to Bradley since he passed away.”
Photography by: Sherrina Peters