The Tear-Inducing Story Behind This Angel Tattoo Newborn Photo

Newborn photo with parents' angel wings tattoo
Gloria Kimmel / Facebook

A photo of Gloria and Steven Kimmel with their newborn baby girl is going viral, and not just because it's a precious snapshot; it also has an incredible meaning behind it. Two years before giving birth to Claire, the Indiana parents welcomed a baby boy named Isaac but quickly learned that their son didn't have much time to live. At just 14 months old, Isaac passed away from type 1 spinal muscular atrophy.

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Two weeks after Isaac's death, his distraught parents made the decision to get matching angel wing tattoos across their back in his memory. "I came up with the idea for tattoos after the doctors told us that he was terminal," Gloria told CafeMom. "I had decided that I wanted to get his angel wings on each of our backs because he was half of both of us."

When considering what type of memorial she could create for Isaac, Gloria knew that she wanted it to be a physical reminder of her child that she could carry with her wherever she went.

"A physical symbol of the emotional scar of his passing," she said. "His life changed who we were and is a part of us, just like our tattoos are now. It symbolizes him embracing us as an angel and the promise of being with him again in heaven."


Gloria Kimmel / Facebook

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Less than two years after Isaac's death, Gloria and Steven learned they were expecting their second child -- and the mom-to-be came up with an incredible photo idea for after she gave birth.

"I wanted to have a picture that incorporated our son into the joy of bringing home our healthy daughter," she said. "The first time I saw the portrait I was so moved by the look of joy on our daughter's face. It was like our son was there with us, making her smile."

Gloria's sister, Grace Arend, first shared the viral photo of her swaddled niece nestled between her brother's angel wings, resting on her parents' back. "This moves me to tears," she wrote.

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