Just three words make up Hannah Brown’s simple memorial tattoo — “last three beats”. She got them after a car crash claimed the life of her first love. But the powerful story behind the short phrase as well as the new purpose Hannah’s found reveals how God is always at work, even during tragedy!
Hannah Brown and Michael “Mikey” Walker fell in love at just 13 years old and they dated for many years. As young adults, their paths eventually took them in separate directions. But their hearts remained forever connected in a deep way.
Love Story Tragically Cut Short
After graduating high school, Hannah struggled to find her purpose. Though she enrolled in cosmetology classes, she found herself mostly just going through the motions.
She and Mikey had remained in touch through the years. And, with their connection to each other still very much intact, the two talked about getting back together as a couple. However, before they had the chance, tragedy struck.
At just 21 years old, Mikey Walker died unexpectedly in a car accident. It was a loss that rocked his family and friends. And it devastated Hannah.
In an instant, she’d lost her forever love, never expecting their youth to be their only time together. Hannah turned to one of Mikey’s recent love letters, and three words he’d written would later serve as a simple memorial tattoo for her.
Mikey’s time on earth seemed way too short. And Hannah Brown felt even more lost.
As Hannah navigated a maze of heartache following Mikey’s death, attending memorial services and the funeral, God revealed He was still at work. In the face of such a terrible tragedy, grief was prevalent. But Hannah found she also experienced incredible kindness from strangers.
The love and care the funeral staff at Chapman Funeral Home showed to all of Mikey’s loved ones really stood out to Hannah. And suddenly, she felt God using Mikey to reveal a purpose for her life she never would have imagined on her own.
Tragedy And Simple Memorial Tattoo Inspire A New Purpose
Hannah Brown remembered a promise Mikey Walker made her in one of his letters to her:
“I love you with all of my heart and I will love you til the day it takes its last three beats.”
Of course, neither Mikey nor Hannah likely had any idea when Mikey penned those words how soon those last three beats would come. And now that he was gone, Hannah decided to turn those “last three beats” into a memorial tattoo.
Using the letter as a template, a tattoo artist etched the three words onto Hannah’s arm in Mikey’s handwriting. The words would forever serve as a tribute to the love they shared, as well as a reminder of how short life is.
Hannah also realized life was indeed certainly too short to simply be going through the motions, as she currently had been. Emboldened by the simple memorial tattoo, the entire experience of losing Mikey gave Hannah Brown a new purpose.
Hannah knows firsthand the pain of a loved one’s heart taking its last three beats. But she also remembers the comfort and consolation the staff at Chapman Funeral Home gave her during such a difficult time. And she realized she wanted to do the same for others. So, she went back to school to become a funeral director and embalmer.
Hannah Brown passionately pursued her goal of working in funeral services. She completed her courses and passed two national board exams. Then, Hannah returned to Chapman Funeral Home to complete an apprenticeship — the last portion of her licensure as a funeral director and embalmer. Now 25 years old, Hannah knows her purpose.
God Turns Pain Into Purpose
It’s a path only God could have foreseen. But Hannah also followed the path, choosing to turn tragedy into His greater purpose for her life. Even though a terrible tragedy led her to this job, just like her memorial tattoo, it’s a way of honoring and remembering Mikey.
“People often ask me why I chose this profession,” Hannah Brown explained to The Crossroads Chronicle. “Mikey Walker is my reason ‘why’.”
Hannah was looking for a profession that brought her fulfillment. And she’s found it in offering others the comfort that helped her through such a terrible time.
“I am there for people during some of their most vulnerable and painful times,” she said. “If I can make the process of losing a loved one even a little less painful and difficult, then I have done my job. It can definitely be a tiring and trying career, but I cannot imagine doing anything else.”
Hannah Brown’s simple memorial tattoo reminds us all to cherish our days and the time we have with loved ones. And the way she pushed through tragedy to find purpose is an inspiration for each of us. What a beautiful reminder that God is always at work and can bring beauty from ashes!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
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Featured Image Credit: Supplied to God Updates | Facebook/Dorothy Fortner Brown