'We're back together': Honouring his dying wishes, wife preserves husband's tattoos
WARNING: This story contains images that some people may find disturbing
Chris Wenzel may not be here anymore, but the tattoos that covered his body are.
Chris, who owned Electric Underground Tattoo in Saskatoon with his business partner and wife of over 20 years, Cheryl, died last year of heart failure. He was 41.
His dying wish was to have his tattoos preserved.
Cheryl said tattoos were Chris's life. He loved drawing them, and tattooing the clients who visited their shop — he always thanked them for donating flesh for his work.
Cheryl recently unveiled her husband's preserved tattoos at an event in Saskatoon.
"Now that he's home, I feel like we're completed, like we're back together and I'm willing to take him out and finish our journey that we started," Cheryl said.
She said she too would like her tattoos to be preserved when she dies, and it's a tradition she hopes her children carry on.
Cheryl said that the family participated in a sweat ceremony where the Creator appeared to welcome the idea of preserving Chris's skin.
Cheryl said Chris would have loved that his tattoos were preserved.
Cheryl said when she and Chris started tattooing, there was a taboo around what they did.
It wasn't that different when they were looking for a funeral home that would accommodate Chris's wish.
"Back then, it was a voodoo to get tattooed, and now, we're breaking waves for the voodoo of preserving them," Cheryl said. "To keep moving forward, you have to break those waves somehow."
She previously told CBC News that five funeral homes declined her request before she found Mourning Glory Funeral Services.
While many people have been weirded out by the idea of preserving Chris's tattoos, Cheryl said there have also been many people who have told her it was a great idea.
Cheryl sets the record straight with them though and clarifies that it was Chris's idea in the first place.
She said Chris would always ask why he would bother wasting time under the gun if the finished product was just going to be buried with him. She said he would rather see the artwork shared with the world.
"With him, I'd honour his wishes in anyway. He was the love of my life," she said.
With files from Alicia Bridges