Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fish Murderer

Well, we've had our aquarium for about a year and a half, and over the past few weeks we've had a couple of fish "expire". Today our creamsicle molly bit the dust after a short battle with LipStuckInTheFilterThingyWhileWeWereGoneForTheWeekend-itis. Well, he almost bit the dust. He was well on his way, just lying on his side on the bottom of the tank for days, gills feverishly sucking in and out, so I decided to end his suffering (and also to avoid letting the amonia level in the tank rise due to a dead fish if he were to die while I was gone today...selfish, I know.) Call me Marci Kevorkian. Every time a fish passes, I can't help but the think of the Cosby episode where Rudy's fish died and they had a funeral in the bathroom, complete with a eulogy and everything. I'd like to say we also had a nice fishy funeral like that, but today while the girls were at school I flushed our little aquatic friend. The girls haven't noticed yet, but I know tonight when it's time to feed the fisharoonies, my oldest daughter will notice. So what do you tell your 4 year old about the death of another a fish (obviously leaving out the part about me pulling the plug)? While trying to instill the value of life in my kids, how do I also teach them that the death of, say, a fish, is less significant than our dog, or even their own lives? (Sorry if I offended any fish-lovers out there...) When our first fish passed, my 4 year old (who was 3 at the time) was beside herself with grief. It was the first death she'd experienced, and the finality of it was devastating to her. But then we trotted up to PetSmart and bought a new fish, and it was all better...until the next fish passed. And it was NOT a pretty passing (well it never is, I suppose). That fish had dropsy and bloated up to 4 times it's original size, with it's scales all spikey like a pine cone...NOT good. When my daughters saw that, they both cried, as did I for some reason. This time around, I opted to flush the fish before the girls came home from school in order to try to avoid another meltdown, and now as I sit here waiting for the girls to notice, I am overcome with guilt on two different levels: #1) Did I jump the gun for flushing before the gills stopped moving? and #2) Should I have waited for the girls, and had a full out fish funeral? Was I wrong to flush first, and answer questions later? As I sit here listening to the thunder outside, I can tell it's about to rain. When it rains, the sewers will swell with water...and the body of my flushed fish will float around. I'm a fish murderer...oh my goodness...lock me up...

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhh this is a tough one! I don't have kids so I can't speak from a mother's point of view. BUT I can speak as a daughter who has survived several pet deaths. My poor mother was always a wreck too when one of our pets died and I don't think she ever really knew how to handle the situations. She told us upfront, disposed of bodies and told us after, disposed of bodies and hoped we didn't notice lol, she tried it all. Even when I was old enough to fully handle and understand death (a Freshman in college) my mother hid my pomeranian's death from me for 3 weeks!! And eventually my cousin spilled the beans! Anyway the point of my stories is this...the death of a pet (any pet) is devastating regardless. As a mother you just do what you think is best for your girls and hope you made the right decision. GOOD LUCK!!

    and p.s. it didn't sound like the fish would've made it. I'm sure it was suffering. I think I would've done the same!