Woman Surprised With Tattoo Message From Late Father


This is the heartwarming moment a woman is left in tears by a surprise tattoo of a message ‘written’ by her late father.

Tracy Horton, who lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, went with her daughter Tiffany Sanford to get a new tattoo but on Tiffany’s request promised not to look while it was being done.

Little did she know, her daughter had been secretly planning the design with Chris Howton, of Cynical Tattoos, using notes written by Tracy’s late father David Horton.

David, who passed away 15 years ago, used to tell Tracy ‘I love you, Shug’ and using letters he had written were able to replicate his handwriting for the tattoo of the saying.

Tiffany, a professional photographer who runs her business ‘Photography by Tiffany Brooke’, wanted to make sure her mom’s reaction was caught on camera after the tattoo was finished.


As Tracy looks to her arm, she immediately recognizes the design and is overwhelmed with emotion, thanking Tiffany and tattoo artist Chris as tears run down her face.

Tiffany said: “Living life without this perfect man for 15 years has been the hardest thing we have ever had to do – I’m so thankful I was of the age I can remember him.

“We try and do so much in remembrance of him. We celebrate his birthday and mourn his death by letting balloons go at his grave and we spend his birthday, death, and wedding anniversary with my Mawmaw.

“Me and my mom are so close we’re pretty much inseparable – she’s been all I’ve had my whole life. She does so much for me I needed to try and repay her for all the times she’s been here when I needed her.


“One day I had an idea do something my mom would see daily. I’m a photographer and one of my clients is a tattoo artist here is Tuscaloosa.

“I messaged them and sent them a picture of a piece of paper Pawpaw wrote on. Chris took letters from the note, my PawPaws handwriting and made this tattoo for my mom.

“It’s something she can look at daily and it’s like he’s telling her ‘I love you shug’ from heaven.

“I asked her if she’d turn her head while he tattooed her and not look until he was done – her reaction was exactly what I expected I knew she would cry and not stop looking at it.

“She said she thought it was going to be something to do with my kids – she never dreamed it would have been this.”


David served in the military and when his granddaughter Tiffany was born, was a father figure to her as her own dad wasn’t around the majority of her time growing up.

During his time in the military, he would always find a way to come home for the birth of his children – he had 13 grandchildren while he was alive, more now as well as three great grandchildren.

And even though the great grandchildren, who are Tiffany’s children, never know him they still call him ‘Heaven Pawpaw’ and recognize photos of him.

Tiffany added: “Growing up my pawpaw was like a dad to me – he was always there for me.

“My mom tells me stories all the time of how he was an amazing father. He was just a rough around the edges country boy that drank some beer and worked hard.

“He was a military man, a Dad, a PawPaw, and a best friend. He was a quiet man but everyone around him knew he loved them in their own little way.

“When he was diagnosed with cancer it hit us harder than ever. We lived miles away but came to see him every weekend for months before he passed away.

“He could hardly breath but would hold his oxygen mask up enough to tell me “I love you brat” and tell my mom “I love you shug” holding on to every breath.

“After he passed we went back home, packed up and moved to Tuscaloosa and moved in with my Mawmaw wishing we would have done it sooner to have more time with him.

“Since he has passed many things happen to let us know he’s with us. We smelled his scent for years.

“When I’m pregnant I have the same dream, we are in the mountains talking and he hugs me and I can literally feel him hugging me tight.”