Northwest Native: The post I never wanted to write.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The post I never wanted to write.

I kind of touched on this before, but I never really laid it out there for you because I thought I would be judged and I also worried about the feelings of someone should he stumble upon this post. But everything has changed.

You need to know that my mom was married to a man and had three children with him, me being the third. That man is not my dad. You could call him my father, but I was talking to someone who is in a similar situation as me and she referred to her biological father as the sperm donor, and that seems even more fitting. I'm not going to tell you why; the reasons go back to before I was born and extend up until today, so there are too many to explain and anyway this post is not about him.

My mom met a man before I was one year old. That man is my dad. He raised me and he is one of the best men I've ever known. He and my mom married when I was about two and a half, and without their marriage, I don't know if I would've had any faith in the institution. And I wouldn't have had such a great example to show me what to look for in a husband.

On Sunday, March 20th, we lost that man. He suffered a brain bleed on Sunday, March 13th, and spent a few days in the ICU before eventually being transferred to Hospice. It was the worst week of my life, hands down. I've never felt such pain, sadness, and numbness.

I try to remember that I'm lucky we got the chance to say goodbye (my dad's cousin passed away last summer suddenly while on his way home to be with his wife for the 4th of July), that I grew up with a dad at all, and that I had more years with him than some people get, but it still hurts. It's hard to think of this in any positive light.

My dad was the most positive person I've ever known. I only heard him raise his voice in anger a handful of times in my life. He went through so much--multiple spinal surgeries that left him numb from the chest down, a foot amputation last summer--and he never lost his optimism.

He had the best and weirdest sense of humor. You had to really know him to understand his humor (and even then, we were often left scratching our heads). I vividly remember driving through Burger King with him once and he thought it would be so hilarious to order the fish sandwich as a 'whale burger.' The employee was so confused. He was big on texting, and I was looking through some of our text exchanges, and after being home for a weekend and discussing potential baby names for the future, he sent me a few of his top choices, all of which were hilarious, including 'Guider Hiccup Dulka Junior' (don't ask me who the first Guider Hiccup Dulka was, because I highly doubt there ever was one!), 'Master Bigfoot Tracker Overland Dulka The First,' and 'Missy Mattie Dulka Janers The Fourth' (which is almost my name--Mattie Jane Dulka--but not quite...).

He was a tugboat captain, and passed his love of the water on to his family. He used to take us tubing in our bright yellow speedboat. He participated in the tugboat races put on during our small town's annual summer carnival. He built a little floathouse on the river where we spent many summer days.

He danced to his favorite song at my brother's wedding and at mine, and we got two of my favorite pictures of him out of it.

He had his foot amputated in June of 2015, and he worked so hard to be able to walk me down the aisle and dance with me at my wedding in October. I so wish I hadn't split that father-daughter dance in half between the sperm donor and him. He deserved the whole song.

The Thursday before everything changed, my sister's boyfriend asked my dad for her hand in marriage. The next Friday, while our dad was in the hospital, he asked her. My sister got to show him her ring and tell him the story of the proposal while he was in Hospice and everyone in the room sobbed. It sucks that she won't get a dance with her dad or have him to walk her down the aisle. It sucks that he didn't get any grandchildren. It sucks knowing that my future children won't get the pleasure and honor of knowing him.

I'm sad and I'm angry and I cry at the drop of a hat. I can't fathom blogging about shopping or confessions or what I did over the weekend right now.

Although, this past weekend, I got my first tattoo. I always kind of wavered about getting one. Michael always asked, "When are we going to get tattoos?" and I always ended up thinking I didn't want one. But last week I knew I wanted to get an anchor for my dad. Even my mom, who said she would never ever get a tattoo, decided she would get one. So on Saturday, my mom, Michael, my sister, and I all got our anchor tattoos. Below is my mom getting hers, and below that is my tattoo (still some redness and excess ink since it's so new) on my forearm. I got it 'upside down'--so it faces me, not everyone else, because I got it for me and for my dad.

This isn't a post I could schedule, so you're getting this at a random time. I debated leaving comments on or turning them off. I decided to leave them on, but know that I probably won't be replying to any. And I won't be replying to comments currently in my inbox either.

And if you're even considering saying something about how this should make me want to reconcile with my 'father,' don't.

38 comments:

  1. Oh Mattie, my heart breaks for you and your family. There's nothing anyone can say that makes losing a parent any easier, but I love your anchor tattoo and the memories it represents! Sending big hugs your way!! Xoxox

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  2. MATTIE!!!! SENDING YOU THE GIANTESS HUGS FROM ACROSS THE INTERNET RIGHT NOW!!! I swear to God I was just sitting here thinking, "Mattie has been MIA, I hope she is okay, and I clicked over to your blog just to comment on whatever was last posted that I miss you, and then I saw this. I AM SO SORRY!!! I know I could never understand how this feels, as I haven't lost a parent yet, but I can understand the relationship you had with him. Johns oldest sister actually had a different Dad that was in her life for about 3 months before he bailed and Johns Dad came into the picture at about a year old and adopted her, before they went on to have John and his brother. And their relationship is SO special. I never even remember that they aren't "blood." She is honestly his favorite, and I know that her life is the way it is because of him. I am so so so sorry that he was taken away from you too soon. Life is terribly short. Be with your family now. We will be here when you feel better. And you will feel better. HUGS!!!!!

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  3. Oh my goodness, I'm so incredibly sorry! My heart is breaking for you and your family, and my thoughts and prayers are with y'all too!

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  4. Commenting back is the LEAST of your worries... but I'm glad you left them turned on so you could know how much we all are sending you our thoughts & prayers. I am so sorry... heart broken for you & your whole family. I know you will all need to rely on each other for comfort. Sending you a big hug!

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  5. Oh, Mattie. I am so sorry for your loss and pray that in your grief, you will be shown winks from your dad in the world around you. I pray that when you have children, there will be personality traits they carry that remind you of him and make him feel closer. I pray that your sister and mom feel the same winks and love.

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  6. Honey, my heart broke for you when I saw your FB status. I totally get it. My "real dad" is really a total waste of humanity and my step dad (my mom met him when I was 7 and they didn't marry until I was like 12) is the only dad I will ever need in my life. It only reaffirms that a parent has nothing to do with genetics but 100% on heart. So I totally get where you are at because I have no idea what I would be feeling if my dad died. But I am so grateful that you did get that time to say goodbye because I think while the grieving process is hard and long anyways, having that to start it is tremendous for your own well being and heart. Nothing any of us can say will help you through this, but just know I care, I'm thinking about you, and if we lived closer I would totally binge on junk food and watch sad movies with you and give you big hugs. Light and love.

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  7. Mattie - I just want to reiterate what I said to you in email, but also that you don't owe an explanation to anyone. About who your father is, or who he was or who your sperm donor was either. Your dad is the man who raised you to be the beautiful woman you have become that is your father. You don't need to justify that to anyone, let alone us.

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  8. I was really really worried about you when your blog went quiet for so long. I'm so, so sorry this is something you're going through right now. I know that I can't say anything at all to make it better for you, but your tattoo is absolutely beautiful. It really does represent the beauty that your dad gave to your mom and you and your whole family. He sounds wonderful. And I think we can see his influence on you when we read your bright, airy, creative, witty words here. I'm so sorry you're going through the loss of a parent. I can't imagine your pain. I hope you find peace while you grieve and heal. I just KNOW that your dad is looking down on you and dancing to that song while he waits for you guys to join him someday. When you and Michael have kids you'll be able to see every part of your dad shine through them. I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you from Ohio.

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  9. Oh Mattie, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even begin to know what you are going through or feeling, but just know that I am praying for your family and I wish I could give you a big hug. Your dad sounds like an awesome man and the world is a better place because he was a part of it.

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  10. I am sending you all the hugs and prayers to you and your family. There is nothing much you can say when someone loses a close family member so just know I am thinking about you. And I love your tattoo with such meaning!!!! Something will forever cherish.

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  11. Oh Mattie, this is just heart wrenching. There are no words for times like these. I am so so sorry. *hugs*

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    1. Also, I have to say, it sounds like he was an awesome man and incredible dad! So glad you had him in your life!

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  12. Mattie, I'm so so sorry for your loss, and the pain that you're experiencing now. It sounds like your father was a wonderful man (and obviously had a great taste in music too!), and those wedding pictures are delightful. It's so great that you two had this time together, and that you had his relationship with your mom to look up to. Family dynamics are complex and sometimes challenging--you're brave to write about yours. I definitely shy away from writing about my own. Take care of yourself. I'm thinking of you and your family. Xoxo

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  13. I'm so sorry for your loss. It is never easy losing someone close to you. And I've always felt that family are the ones who are always there for you. Blood means nothing if the love, respect and support doesn't follow. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Sending hugs and positive vibes your way.

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  14. I'm so sorry for your loss. It is never easy losing someone close to you. And I've always felt that family are the ones who are always there for you. Blood means nothing if the love, respect and support doesn't follow. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Sending hugs and positive vibes your way.

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  15. We've missed you here in blog world, but you have been so needed in the real world with your family. I am so so sorry you have to go through this. Your dad looks like such a happy man, and I'm so glad you have so many wonderful memories with him. I love your tattoo and he would too. Praying for you and your family. Hugs from DC!

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  16. Earlier tonight, I was just thinking of sending you an email to let you know that I was thinking about you but then I saw that you had posted this earlier today. I'm so so so sorry for your loss. I think blogging & replying to comments should be the last thing on your mind right now. Your dad sounds like a pretty awesome guy & a lot of fun. I can relate to having a "sperm donor" as well but I believe that he's the one that raised you & deserves to have the title of dad. I love that you all got anchor tattoos too. What an awesome way to remember him by & to always have with you. Thinking of you Mattie! :)

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  17. Oh my gosh, my heart just breaks for you and your family. What an awful thing to happen. He sounds like such a special man! Sending thoughts and prayers your way!

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  18. Oh my friend, I couldn't imagine being in your position right now. I couldn't imagine writing a post like this either. I am so happy that he was able to be at your wedding and to see your sister get engaged. At least there were happy moments :) You are one brave girl and I am praying big for ya! Also, I love the tattoos and that you all were able to go together. I have no doubt your dad was smiling down on y'all :)

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  19. I'm so sorry for your loss, Mattie. Love the anchor tattoo tribute for your amazing Dad. I will be thinking of you and your family. ❤

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  20. Oh Mattie. You wrote a touching tribute. One that has touched me so much that I am commenting while tears are streaming down my face. What a wonderful gift of love he gave your mom, you, and your family. Mattie, no words can ease your loss. But, I pray you find peace and are surrounded by love. I adore the tattoo.

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  21. I'm so sorry for your loss. Sounds like he was a wonderful man who left a legacy. I've said a prayer and hope God is able to provide you comfort and strength. I love that you and your family got anchor tattoos in his memory. My one and only tattoo is also in remembrance of my father who passed away in March as well (11 years ago). It's a guitar with the words "dad" written above. *Hugs*

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  22. I'm so sorry for your loss Mattie! I wish I could give you a hug and tell you something to make you feel better, but I know that's not possible right now. Just know i'll be praying for you and your family.

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  23. I am so so sorry mattie. I can't begin to imagine the hurt you're feeling right now-- sending you a big hug and keeping you in my prayers. I love the tattoo you got to honor your dad-- what an amazing man.

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  24. Oh Mattie, I am so sorry. I can't fathom what you are going through. Sending you hugs and positive thoughts.

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  25. oh my gosh Mattie. I am so, so so sorry. I cannot even imagine what you are going through. your dad sounds amazing and i am just so sorry for your loss. i love the tattoo that your family and you got. it's not about anyone else. just you guys.

    i hate the people who tell you to reconcile with someone you don't consider a family member. my sperm donor is the same. everyone wanted me to reconcile with him when he was dying, but why? he was not my father. my mother was/is. it's not the same, i know, but screw other people hun. it's what you think and feel that matters and it's none of their business. if you need anything please let me know. xxx

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  26. Mattie, this is so rough! My heart is breaking for you and your family. He sounds like amazing guy. Love you, girl!!

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  27. I'm so sorry for your loss! I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers <3

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  28. Oh my how terrible, my mum was 10 when her mum married her "dad" she had not seen here natural father since she was about 4 and didn't think about him or anything she never thought of her dad as a step-father he was just dad. She was heartbroken when he passed away in 2010.

    I am lucky that the age of 53 I still have both my parents, parents I see weekly a mum I talk to each night, when my dad had lung cancer in 2009 and looked so ill and frail I couldn't think about him dying and thankfully he didn't he is still here and still dad.

    I am so sorry you have had to experience this type of pain and loss

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  29. so sorry for your loss. prayers to your family as you remember the times you had together. I remember reading once anyone can be a father but it takes someone very special to be a dad. So glad you had the chance to know a dad.

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  30. Mattie, I am SO SO SO sorry for your loss :( My eyes are watery just reading this. I cannot understand the loss you've had but you will be in my prayers. I know nothing I can say will make it any easier, but honestly all I can say is that I am so sorry!!! He sounds like he was an amazing father and a hilarious person in general! SUCH a blessing he was able to walk you down the isle and dance part of the daddy daughter dance with you!! I am so glad you can forever have and cherish those memories. I bet he is in heaven playing with all of his future grandkids right now and giving them silly names :) . Once again, I hope you are able to keep remembering all the wonderful things about him! Maybe make a little memory book of things you remember so that you will never forget anything and your kids can read it and fall in love with him, too. Love you, M! xoxo

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  31. I am so sorry for your loss, but I love the idea of a memorial tattoo

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  32. I'm so so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful person. I hope that you can eventually find peace and know that he will always be with you.

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  33. Wow Mattie, I am so very sorry for your loss! Sounds like your family lost a tremendous man but that you were all so very lucky to have each other for as long as you did. My dad was raised by a man in the same situation as you, that is his dad and that man was always my Papa. It takes a good person to step into and take care of another's children and then call them his own. Hugs, hugs, hugs and hugs.

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  34. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. He seemed like a wonderful person. I love your anchor tattoo, and the fact that it's facing you. Sending hugs and keeping you and your family in my thoughts during this hard time <3

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  35. Oh I am so sorry. He truly was your father. This is a beautiful tribute to him!

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  36. Okay you're officially on my feed and I'm catching up on your blog.

    Firstly, I'm so very sorry your dad passed away much too soon, too young. Just because he wasn't your biological fathers means he was any less than the best person that he was to you, to your mom, to your family.
    Never for a second believe that he's gone. He's not here physically but I assure you he's watching over you and your family.
    Life sure is shitty sometimes isn't it?
    My dad died when I was 3, and my mom met my step dad 6 years later. It wasn't until my mother was diagnosed with cancer that we finally grew up and snapped out of the juvenile, idiotic behaviour and smartened up. We spent years, so many wasted years arguing and being jealous of the other person and in the end, none of that shit mattered. We were able to forgive and grow from there and if you'd have asked me if he'd walk me down the aisle a few years later, I'd have told you you're a liar. But he did and he's one of the few in my corner than has my back through and through.
    Talk to your dad, love. He hears you..... I'm here for you, I understand deeply what you're going through. It never gets easy, the pain just dulls... Cherish all the memories you have of him...

    Xo

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