It always ends.

I know, I know.  Regular updates will be back soon.  For now, an ominous tattoo for everyone to read too much into.

Literary Tattoos: The High Cost of Living Neil Gaiman

Ron’s tattoo is from Neil Gaiman’s Death: The High Cost of Living.  This is Ron’s story:

I broke up with my ex girlfriend in 2007; she was my high school crush (I’ve known her for 10 years, dated solid the last 5), we never stopped talking and kept trying to ‘make it work’.  Last October 2008 she ended up pregnant.  I stuck by her, did everything I could for the pregnancy, changed my schedule so I could be there for every appointment, went to all the classes; et al.  In May she brought it to my attention, I may not be the father-  I didn’t freak out, I kept going to every class, and appointment, because what would be worse?  Going to the appointments and the baby not being mine, or being mine and I missed all the appointments out of anger?  Lucas Grey was born on 07/08/09, at 10p and I instantly fell in love with him (despite never wanting children).

I stayed at her home, did the midnight changings, put him to sleep, pacified him when he cried.  I was daddy and it really felt good.  On 7/18 I got the test results that he is not mine.  I left and I’ve been entirely devastated ever since.  Buried myself in my work, was drinking a lot, and became a good shut in.  I got this quote for several reasons.  First, When he used to sleep, he would sleep under my left arm, nuzzled onto my chest, secondly its my reminder that its better for both of them without me there, staying only for the selfishness of wanting to be around him.  They are both better without me, and my animosity towards her.  Third, Neil Gaiman is my favorite author, and High Cost of Living is what really introduced me to him, I was a huge Tori Amos fan and I bought the book only to read her forward of the book.  It is also a true quote in every single aspect of life; everything ends, for something new.


  1. anon says

    I'm sorry to hear about the situation with your ex-girlfriend, but that's a great tattoo!

    Great font and great meaning to the quote. i love it. Very positive :)

  2. mel says

    i don't think i've ever commented on here before, but the meaning behind this tattoo is so sad. you're such a strong person. i wish you the best.

  3. Hannah says

    hey Jen-

    sorry for the hard time you got about being sick… i know i was one of the people begging for updates!

    feel better soon! ttyl

  4. karen says

    for Ron:

    but that baby needs a daddy and you are it!!!

    the girl friend may be an ass but it's not the baby's fault.

    Please be a part of his life.

  5. cindy says

    your story moved me to post a comment. committing to the extent that you showed in your story shows great character.

    have you ever watched the show "6 feet under"?

    i genuinely hope you stay positive & hopeful & full of love for as long as you possibly can.

  6. jasonlexi says

    you still kept moving forward after all of that pain. you're one of my source of inspiration from now on. i hope i can be as strong as you are.

  7. Joel says

    Anyone with functional biology can make a baby. It takes love, strength and character to be a parent, and none of those have a damn thing to do with dna. If you love the boy you can be his father. It won't be easy, it won't always be fun, but it might just be the greatest thing you've ever done.


  8. Elisabeth says

    I love the quote, but … I think you should try to stay in Lucas's life if your ex will let you. It might not be a biological relationship, but parenting is worth a whole lot more than a biological relationship. It's better he have you in his life than nobody, and it doesn't sound like his biological father is available.

  9. j says

    "its better for both of them without me there, staying only for the selfishness of wanting to be around him" – and if he ends up with a great father evens if its born out of that selfishness? Stay close to him – he'll need someone like you to teach him strength and character.

  10. elizabeth says

    my bestfriend in highschool met her dad once. the only man that was her "father" was a guy like you, just remeber it is not who's sperm made it first, it is who was there for them. if you can be the man here you have no idea what that will mean in the long run. p.s this man is one of the best men i have ever met and i am not friends with the girl anymore but this is still one of my father figures.

  11. says

    agree with Joel. If you love the boy you can be his father. It won’t be easy, it won’t always be fun, but it might just be the greatest thing you’ve ever done.

    I don't think that leaving the child is the right thing to do. That's cowardice, not strength. Be a man so that the kid will know what a real one is.

  12. Lucidity says

    It's easy to comment on the outside. To vilify someone, question their character, and press upon them how important it is to be there. The fact is that he was betrayed. She took something sacred and used to destroy him. A child is a hefty responsibility and it's something you can't engage in if you're in hurt with their mother.

  13. Amy says

    At first I didn't understand why he would leave the child either, but after I reread it and realized how angry he was with the child's mother, it made more sense. He may have been trying to protect the child from a toxic environment that surely would have developed out of his animosity toward the child's mom.

    Also … I think we just have to accept that he did what he thought was best. It was obviously a crushing decision, and not one you make unless you're sure you're doing the right thing.

  14. rag says

    this is my first post on this website. after seeing this tattoo and reading the story behind it: the world needs more people like you.

    i agree with another poster. that baby deserves a father figure. you are it.

  15. Ron says

    The tattoo is mine, as is the story. First and foremost, I want to thank Jen for posting my Tattoo, and in doing so; giving me the opportunity to see everyone's opinions of events deeply personal in my life. I would also like to thank everyone for their comments, positive or negative towards my situation and ultimate decision. Hearing the opinions, outside my own circle is incredibly cathartic.

    Ultimately, the decision was made 7 months ago, and there really is no going back at this point. I do miss him every day, and likely will every day of my life; but in the end, I do feel I've made the right decision, even tho I can easily see both sides discussed above. I will appreciate every moment I had with him.

    Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who took the time to comment. Posting the link to a picture of Lucas and I below, hopefully it works ;-) Thanks again!

  16. says

    As he is not the biological father, Ron has few legal rights in this matter. Ron has no protection if the mother decides he can have nothing more to do with the kid and no authority, without the support of the mother, to make decisions … it's a precarious way to live and the heartbreak of being separated from a child after loving and taking care of them can be truly devastating.

    Good luck Ron, maybe the next step along your path is to remember that 'The end is where we start from'

  17. Leigh says

    I'm so sorry that you had to make such a heartbreaking choice. I'm sorry for the sense of loss and the pain you must be feeling.

    It's great to know that there are people out there who make the choices that they know to be right, even if they aren't always the choices they wanted to make.

    Good luk.

  18. Leigh says

    I'm so sorry that you had to make such a heartbreaking choice. I'm sorry for the sense of loss and the pain you must be feeling.

    It's great to know that there are people out there who make the choices that they know to be right, even if they aren't always the choices they wanted to make.

    Good luck.

  19. amanda says

    Are you listed as the father on the birth certificate? Then you have every legal right, and can be forced to pay child support if you actually leave. If you really love this boy, suck up your differences with the ex, work out a joint custody arrangement, and LOVE HIM. He is more important than anything here.

    I know they say "If you love them, leave them," but that is such a lie. He needs you, so make the REALLY hard decision to stay with him. Leaving is easy. You only do it once. Staying is hard- you do it every day.

  20. medstudent says

    first off, amazing tattoo,

    second, if you believe it was the right thing to do in leaving, that the animosity you felt towards the mother would have never dissipated, and would have raised the child in a poisoned environment then you are truely strong of heart to be able to do whats right for the child.

    third and lastly, speaking from the point of veiw of the child, which i do not believe i have seen thus far, (apologies if i missed one) i myself have grown up with a father who is not mine biologicly but in heart. the person who donated his dna to my exsistence never had any interest in my well being, but my father of my heart did. he was the one to lift me up when i fell, to teach me how to ride my bike and who held me when i cried. he took care of me by total choice, not by chance of birth, and even though he and my mother broke up and moved out and got back together many times in the last 17 years he has always stayed in touch, always been there to call, and never stopped caring for me. as the child, i feel blessed. as was stated, making a baby is easy, nuturing a small human life is something different entirely. my father of my heart taught me i was worth something and that i would only fail if i let myself fail. he helped make me who i am today.

  21. Lame Bill says

    As Hervor said, in his situation, he is completely at the mercy of the mother, and there is nothing he can do about it, no matter how much he may love Lucas.

    Hell, these days, I've seen men in similar situations sent to prison – based solely on the word of a hostile mother – just because they wanted to make sure the baby had a daddy in his or her life, regardless of the availability of the biological father.

  22. anon says

    that baby's gonna miss you.

    my first cousin, who just turned fifteen, isn't my uncle's genetic child either. but he's been her daddy all her life, and she is his daddy's girl. it's super sad to think that you'd give up your relationship with this baby just based on his genetic background, and forget the bond of love you two shared.

  23. Nancy Holbert says

    What? He was your baby! Because you weren't the sperm donor means nothing. Is his biological father in his life? Does he even care about the child? If you are the only father he has please don't abandon him.

    I wish I could hug you.

  24. K. R. Lindsey says

    From the poem, "Sunday Morning," by Wallace Stevens:

    “Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams And our desires.”

  25. stelei says

    I just wanted to let you know that Neil Gaiman has linked to your story on his Twitter account. He is @neilhimself, and called it "A small, heartbreaking, literary tattoo story."

    I like how through the words inked on your skin, your favorite author came to know of you. Good luck with all new things to come. :)

  26. says

    Hi Ron,

    I loved this right away – my favorite quote from one of my all time favorite stories and writers.

    I'm so sorry for the hurt and sadness that came into your life. I cannot imagine how it feels and i hope that one day you feel even a little bit better. I grew up without my bio father, and was taken care of by my stepfather. WHen I was seven years old i gave him a little statue that read "Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy". your story made me think of that statue and the man I was blessed with as my Dad. take care sir.

  27. Bruna says

    What an exciting story! It's good to know that the world stil have some people who think the way you do, Ron. You'll be a great dad, I'm pretty sure.

    Beautiful tattoo!

    Jen, congratulations for the blog. I'm here every time I can to see the tattoos, and I think your idea was great. Kisses from Brazil!

  28. Keri says

    You don't have to be a baby's biological father to still be 'daddy'. There would be nothing selfish about staying around them and being a strong, present father figure in that baby's life.

    You'd be a great father to that baby whether he's your blood or not.

  29. shannon says

    I admire you!! You are an inspiration.. your tatoo has inspired me! lifes experiences hey..lifes hard,it throws curve balls at us and i think you did the right thing."happiness is a healthy mental attitude, a clear conscience and a heart full of love. It teaches us to see life as a opportunity or a strength. we all have to at some point in our lives have to go through pain..anger..acceptance and growth!! and all very different at that. i am in the process of recovering from domestic abuse and am prossecuting.have been looking for a tatoo for a while..and found yours. Thank you..going to change it a bit and say… It allways ends… thats what gives ourselves value! getting it tatooed on my neck. and another one..The weak..become the STRONG!. I wish you well and happiness. shan N.Ireland

  30. kateykins says

    wow I think a lot of people are judging this guy quite harshly. of course he hasn't just given up on that beautiful little baby just because it's not biologically his. however, that fact created an irreconcilable rift between him and the mother. that doesn't mean he loves that child any less. maybe you should be looking at the mother's actions instead of his.

  31. Kammy says

    I know you posted this awhile back, but I'm just reading it through one of Neil's twits. Thanks so much for sharing. love the tattoo and I'm sorry that things turned out the way they did for you, but I believe that you did what you thought was best for you, Lucas and your ex.

    The detail of him nuzzling your chest was especially poignant. A guy that's loving being a dad is so completely cool. I gotta tell you, I'm seriously crushing on you right now:)

  32. hnshn says


    That is a heartbreaker of a story. I'm glad the tatoo has been helping you through the process of getting over the situation you were in.

    I hope you can find some happiness after all that you've been through.

  33. joana says

    i'm new here, and the story is maybe too old, but my thought is
    why did you had you and the child dna-proofed? i don't feel like it was a must. you could have lived very well thinking he was your son, and behaving like he was. (all of you)
    but it's my thought, and, most of all, it's your life.
    so everything you did is correct.
    at least for you, and i'm no judging


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