The month of December is filled with over packed malls, toy commercials bombarding the air waves, family gatherings and a sense of excitement for most as the 25th day of December approaches but for one family in Port Huron Michigan, they are standing together attempting to make sense of a horrible tragedy that ruthlessly ripped a loved family member away from them.
“We were standing down by the river, she was wearing a long pink skirt on it and the wind blowing in her hair. It was then I knew I had found the one.”- Matt Gratton
Matt Gratton, does not even know where to begin. Never once did he imagine that he would planning a funeral for the love of his life, the mother of their beautiful daughter and without his family’s help he would feel even more lost.. if that’s even possible.
December 3rd, 2015- his young fiancee Becca Hardy was mauled to death by two dogs a few houses down from her home.
“PORT HURON, Mich. (WJBK) – A 22-year-old woman has died after she was attacked by two dogs in Port Huron on Thursday.” (WJBK)
Becca, according to her loving fiancé and her family was an amazing young woman and a loving mother to the couples 18th month old daughter, Molly and her family can’t help but think of those happy memories. Her Aunt Shell, grief stricken shares, “Becca was an amazing mother, she would take Molly everywhere with her. The park, the beach and visiting family.” Fiancé Matt Gratton shares, “We would play peek a boo with our daughter and regularly sit in the dining room and play catch with the beach ball.”
“The first time I ever met Becca was one night at my dads.” Matt remembers fondly, his grief apparent as he struggles a bit. “Her Mom and my Dad are friends. She was younger, only 17yrs old at the time and I had just stopped at my dads to hang out for a bit and she fell asleep in a chair. I set up a bed for her tucked her in and went home like a proper gentleman. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me its just the person I am”.
Matt pauses for a moment, “We survived everything designed to tear relationships apart and only came out closer. Our relationship had its problems but all do. True love is sticking together through thick and thin and that’s exactly what we did. We had actually started trying for our second child recently because our daughter is growing up to quick for our liking.”
Guilt, agony, shock and anger came over the father and Fiancé as he waited for his soon to be wife to arrive at the hospital, beating the ambulance there.
“My first thought was who is going to teach our daughter all the things a mommy is supposed to teach her? I immediately blamed myself for not being there to protect her and was flooded with a million what ifs…things I could or should have done differently. I just basically wanted to go back in time and change it but I cant.”
Amazing enough, Matt or other family members do not blame the breed (s) of dogs responsible for the attack.
“One thing I definitely want to say is I feel these people are so set on hating these animals that they’re losing sight of the actual tragedy that occurred. All the comments on the local news page sights are people fighting about how I should hate all these dogs for the deeds of a few not one (other than supporters like yourself) has even offered their condolences. They’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. My daughter has to grow up without a mother now. I lost the girl I was gonna marry and all they think about is spewing their hatred for the breed.”
By no means does he or other family members feel that the owner should get off the hook for this tragedy either.
” Yes I feel the owners should be charged there is a difference in training your dog to protect without doing bodily harm”, Michelle (Aunt Shell) explains and Matt agrees, “I’m angry about it. I feel if they were gonna teach a dog to protect they should have done more to keep something like this from happening.”
Matt doesn’t know what the future holds because for the moment, their family is still in shock at the tragic event that snuffed out such a bright and warm light in their lives. Sadly, with the media exposure, it has caught the attention of Colleen Lynn, founder of Dogsbite.org and her fellow group members who have started their ruthless verbal attack on the family, even to the point of accusing Matt of making up the tragedy.
Even Colleen Lynn, founder of Dogsbite.org labeling the grieving man a “Super Nutter” because he refuses to blame the multiple breeds that get labeled pit bull.
The grieving family of Becca are shocked by the hateful messages and comments. Michelle (Aunt Shell) shares, “My niece is asking for everyone to please stop being so nasty about my nieces death. She has three young sisters and a daughter that do not deserve to see rude mean marks about Becca”.
“If I could tell her one thing, I would tell her I’m sorry for not being there to protect her when she needed me I’d tell her if i could go back I would have never let her leave and would trade her places if I could. I’d tell her things will never be the same without her and I value every moment I did have with her now more than ever.”
Funeral arrangements are still being set up and the family has a gofundme set up to help with costs.