A traditional "Sailor Jerry" style sparrow is a typical but, IMO, timeless memorial tattoo. Chrysanthemums are considered a memorial flower and if done correctly, they can look fantastic. That said, anything can be a memorial tattoo—sometimes just the act of getting a tattoo makes you remember and can give a sense of closure. Tattoo posts are always tricky because usually within a few responses you get people who would never get a tattoo complaining about how tattoos are lame, too permanent, or will leave you with regrets. I have had my tattoos for nearly 15 years now and I love all of them—plan to get another one later this year. Some commemorate a special time in my life while others are just because I wanted one.
My advice when it gets closer, get some tattoo magazines and go to someone whose work really means something to you. People don't regret tattoos, they regret bad tattoos. Bad tattoos look good the first week you get them, but then deteriorate quite quickly. The worst tattoos look crappy from the moment you get them and just get worse. If you live in a big city, you may have an easier finding someone who is really good. Don't take the advice of any random friends who have tattoos—look at a lot of tattoos before you decide what kind and who you want tattooing you. For my first tattoo, I had no idea what could be done because I saw so many crappy tattoos so I ended up just going to the local shop that everyone ranted and raved about. That tattoo is special because it was my first, but it is my least favorite one artistically. After that I really did my homework and didn't limit myself to the local scratchers and really looked for people that I considered real artists. Remember, once its there, it is there forever. I recommend going to a custom shop rather than just getting a piece of flash off the wall..again $100-$200 an hour is typical.For a woman, consider the placement of the tattoo and ask yourself if the tattooer has a style you like. For example, some women have very feminine pretty tattoos and look fantastic on them while in the hands of a lesser artist, they end up looking cheap, masculine, or too bold. The arm seems like a great idea because it seems coverable, but then when your 30 and need to go to a formal work event that might require a dress...pretty soon you are limited on the dresses you might be able to wear.
Here are some examples of artists that I would consider highly and might give you some ideas: http://black13tattoo.com/...rtist=amandaleadman/ http://www.tomrenshaw.com http://www.plurabella.com/tattoos/