Dum Spiro, Spero

Want to know why I titled the blog what I did?  Well it’s a tattoo I have on my back.  Not sure if I would get it done the same way again but hey what’s done is done and the message is what matters.  After my dad died I got a tattoo of the chinese symbol for endurance to symbolize not only his struggle with cancer but also my battle with everything that happened while he was ill.

Three years later after my escape to Maryland ended and I came back to Pittsburgh I got a more meaningful tattoo on my upper back.  I took latin in high school my junior and senior years, the time when my dad was the most ill and when he passed away.  We studied motto’s that year.  One motto was “Dum Spiro, Spero”  It meant “While I breathe, I hope”   It never left me.

I’m not sure I can really explain why it means so much to me or why it makes me think of my father so much but it just does.  I’ll post a picture of the tattoo once I have good one, but it’s a way to carry him with me, like he is breathing every breath with me when I feel like giving up.

This photo, that used to be in the header :

Is a shot I took while at West Point Military Academy in 2003/2004… A floormate at college was dating someone at the academy and he had a friend that needed a date to the freshman formal and I jumped on the opportunity… My dad had attended West Point and during the entire time he had been alive I had never made it to New York to see the campus with him…

The visit was very bitter sweet but I felt like he was there with me the entire time… And I took this picture and a few others the wind whipped up around me and I felt like it was as if he was giving me a hug… What a beautiful place… and I felt blessed to stand at a spot that my dad had stood 30 years earlier…


7 thoughts on “Dum Spiro, Spero

  1. Wow… this is amazing and inspirational… the picture… the story behind it… the motto… what you’ve been through and how you have and are getting through it… This really is a fantastic blog, Natalie. You have so many wonderful things to share. I wonder if you realize just how amazing you are, how inspirational, and how much strength you have inside! Keep up the good work and Please, don’t ever give up your Faith. It is amazing! You have inspired me greatly.
    Val Marie

      • Well, you deserve to have a high self-esteem! You are one of the good ones, chica! 🙂 I can’t WAIT to see what you’ve got in store for us next! By the way, I finally made my weblog public. You inspired me to finally DO IT! 🙂 Please feel free to check it out if you want. Here’s the address. I’m not sure how to make it a cool easy-to-click link, so you might have to type it in by hand… It’s http://valneidig2.wordpress.com I hope you like it. 🙂
        Val Marie

      • Yay!!!! I’m glad you made it public, sorry its taking a hot minute to get around to checking it out but so proud of you! a memoirs writing class sounds fantastic… if i ever decided to start “writing” outside of the blog world again I think it would be along the lines of a memoir…

  2. I recognised that spot the second I saw it. My father went to West Point too, (class of 1955) and we lived there when I was a little kid. Will never forget it. He passed away two years ago, I know how tough that can be. Glad to stumble across your blog, keep up the good work.

  3. The captain of the Balliol college,a brutal slaver, with a love of the classics and a habit of latin quotation led me to your blog (see The Flashman Papers). Your story touched me and the view is beautiful.
    I live in a beautiful place myself, Shere village, in Surrey, England as seen in “The Holiday”.
    Have a great life, best wishes, Daire conroy

  4. Your blog takes on a new meaning now 🙂 I love this latin quote also. Your ‘hug’ sounds like you did need to go there. Beautiful words.

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