Sunday, February 22, 2009

Freddie Fishsticks, R.I.P.

Daughter's goldfish died, y'all. And while this isn't the most horrible thing to happen, for Daughter, it was a tough day. So I thought I would give you the bio and let you mourn along with our family. Well, not really the entire family, as Husband though all the hullaballu over a fish was stupid, but I look at is as a valuable life lesson to teach a 6 year-old about death -- without the death having to be an actual person -- someone that would be a heartbreak to lose.

His name was Freddie Fishsticks, which I am assuming you already picked up on from the title of the post. But in case you didn't, there you go. I used to joke about his name, because if you say it with our Italian last name, it sounds like an old time Mobster name. Right?

We bought him for 12 cents back in May. He was about an inch long. He was about 3 inches when he died. He swam. He ate a lot. He pooped a lot. That was about it.

He stopped eating last Sunday, so I knew his death was imminent -- and while I tried to prepare Daughter for the inevitable...she still cried her heart out when his death was confirmed. We said a prayer for him to go to fish heaven, or wherever it is that dead fish go -- and then we flushed him.

I felt really bad for Daughter, because this is the first time death has been so personal for her. And yes, like Husband, I understand it is a very small death when put in perspective. But I have always had a soft spot for all animals, and I even felt sad when Freddie died. After all, I was the one who ended up having to feed him and clean his bowl, when the novelty of it all wore off for Daughter.

Daughter and I have had several conversations about death. I never tried to really sugar-coat it for her, especially when the question came up about me dying. Or Husband dying. Or Nana, or Papa, or even her. I try to explain to her that death is part of life -- all living things are going to die eventually someday. Every tree, every flower, every bird...and yes, every person on the face of this earth is going to die. Hopefully, it happens when we are all very, very old, and that way we can say we enjoyed our lives. But sometimes, like Freddie, it happens 9 months after meeting each other and getting to know one another.

When we said goodbye to Freddie, we had a good cry. Daughter cried because her fish died. I cried because she had to experience death and the pain that goes with it. She told me her heart was heavy and it hurt. I know that feeling. I've cried many times for pets, friends and family that have all passed away. I know that one thing that always made me feel better was a strong hug and knowing that I still had people here to experience life with -- and so that's what I did. I hugged her hard, told her that death is part of life, and that I loved her.

One thing I am thankful for is that I have a child who is sensitive enough to care when her fish dies. That goes to show she has a soft and fragile heart that is capable of loving even a goldfish. I am also thankful that I was here to help her through it (I leave to take the Bar tomorrow morning).

So goodbye to you, Freddie. As I mentioned in my prayer, I hope you are in fish heaven, or wherever it is that the spirit of fish go when they die. You were a decent first pet for my then 5-year-old. We had some good times and a few laughs -- remember that time your poop was about 4 inches long? Daughter got a kick out of that (she loves bathroom humor -- she must get it from me). Rest in peace, little fish. Rest in peace. (And I am sorry for flushing you, but considering the ground is hard as a rock outside, I couldn't give you a proper burial. I am sure you have already forgiven me.)


Samantha Grace said...

Goddamn it! This made me so sad. I needed a pick-me-up, not another reason to be depressed. And my fish is sick too. Son of a bitch.

The best way for me (even as an adult) to understand death is that once we're done with these bodies we have, our spirits become one with everything in the world. So while we're sad that we lose the animal or person, we still have them with us always.

Now I'm going to go slit my wrists.

MyTruth0812 said...

LOL..I thought the "poop" comment would have lended enough brevity to the post as to end it on a high note. Guess not. :)