Anna Harp and her sister, Abrielle Clausing, always feared that if their dad, Rudolph Clausing, contracted COVID-19, it would be deadly.
When the worst happened, he left behind an unexpected memento.
"He had a lung disease called Interstitial disease, it's hereditary," Harp told TODAY Parents, adding that to prevent additional exposure she and her sister kept their distance throughout the pandemic. "It was sad, because we didn’t get to see him a lot the last year and our worst nightmare happened when he contracted COVID."
The 66-year-old was in and out of the hospital after contrating COVID last November, at one point making a turn for the better, which allowed him to come home with the use of oxygen.
"He came home and they were telling us he was going to get better, his oxygen just had to raise more," Harp said, adding that an undetected case of pneumonia sent him back to the hospital for a final time. "From there, he wasn’t progressing. Nothing was really good news and his lungs were tired. Having a lung disease, COVID, then pneumonia, he didn’t have a chance."
Because of hospital regulations, the sisters from Siloam Springs, Arkansas, thought they would not be able to say goodbye to their father. But a staff member allowed them one final moment.
"We were just spewing out everything we wanted to say to him. You’re just trying to think of everything you want to say in those few minutes," Harp told TODAY. "We were just hugging each other and I was just telling him how thankful I was to have a dad like him. I just kept repeating over and over we were going to be OK."
It was during this final hug that Harp noticed a piece of paper laying by her dad's side.
"I noticed the note when I went to say goodbye to him," she said.
It read, "It has been such a good life."
After their father's passing, the sisters kept thinking about the note — and decided to commemorate him with it.
"It was kind of a collective decision," Harp said of the idea to get their dad's final message tattooed.
"I automatically knew I had to have that," Clausing told TODAY Parents. "There’s nothing more special than the last note he wrote."
The sisters hired Dustin Cleveland, who owns Ritual Electric in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about an hour and a half from their home in Arkansas.
"I sent him a picture of the note and he was able to trace over the note handwriting and put it on my sister and then tattoo it," Harp explained.
Clausing's tattoo is her dad's exact handwriting on the inside of her arm, while Harp chose a floral design for her thigh.
"He did it so perfectly," Clausing said. "The tiny pen strokes...it looks like my dad wrote it on my arms."
In a now-viral TikTok video, Harp shared the sisters' emotional story.
"I’m glad people get to see how amazing he was," Harp told TODAY. "It makes me happy his story is going to be heard. He was such an amazing human and would think this was really cool."