Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Loss of "Fishy" -- by Cara

Fishy died today. He had been struggling off and on for a few months with a disease we just couldn’t seem to pinpoint. Now he is gone, and I am the one feeling the loss.

My son got Fishy, a blue Betta fish, as a birthday party favor (don’t ask...that’s a whole different blog), almost a year ago. He was a happy little fish, in his own tank, swimming around and enjoying the interaction with my son. Soon, as winter approached, our upstairs became drafty and cold. I noticed that Fishy would hide in the bottom of the tank, in a corner. I bought a Betta care book which clearly stated that Bettas like to be in warm water and warm environments. I ran out and bought Fishy a tank heater.

Fishy didn’t seem to take to the tank heater at all. Maybe it frightened him. But Fishy stopped eating. I took the heater out of Fishy’s tank and put the tank on the floor, right up against the radiator. At the same time, we bought a red Betta fish (which my son named, “Red”), and another tank, and put Red right next to Fishy, against the radiator, on the floor. Red was the best thing to happen to Fishy! Fishy would watch Red with his beautiful display of long, flowing fins, and it motivated Fishy! Fishy began to eat again and swim over to watch Red! We were so happy! We thought the problem was solved!

Then over the past few weeks, Fishy stopped eating again. We changed his water weekly. I went out and bought the entire variety of Betta fish food the pet store offered. Red would see me coming with all of the containers of food and start giving me a full body wag! Fishy wouldn’t try anything. A couple weeks went by and Fishy hadn’t eaten. He would just hide in the corner of his tank.

Then, this past week, we decided to get Fishy a larger tank with a filter. We let the water with water conditioner in it sit out for 24 hours. We rinsed off the gravel and plants before they went into the tank. Then we put in Fishy. Everything went downhill from there, day by day. Fishy would hide behind the filter and get “caught.” Then I noticed that his skin was sloughing off on his back. This poor fish was sick. I had to try to save it.

Monday morning I went to the fish store in my pajamas (not kidding!). I brought Fishy with me in a container wrapped in a towel. The manager took one look at Fishy and said he doubted that Fishy would “make it,” but gave me some medicine to try with Fishy anyway.

I raced home, put the medicine in the tank, then put Fishy back in, and waited. I checked on Fishy just about every hour. He looked worse. I hoped another day of medicine might help Fishy a little. Fishy only looked and acted even worse. I put Red next to Fishy. Fishy didn’t respond. Red seemed disappointed.

Finally, today, I discovered Fishy lifeless and floating at the top of the tank. My heart sank. Not only did I feel disappointed that I couldn’t “save” my son’s fish. I felt as if just about everything in my life was dying. And here I was struggling to save this poor fish. I couldn’t even do that. I seem to be trying aimlessly to save a lot of things in my life; my marriage, my family, my son’s fish. And the disappointment is mounting because the reality is that I don’t have full control of any of these things right now. I wanted desperately to be at least Fishy’s savior. But I couldn’t even be that. We will most likely replace Fishy with another fish. I wish it were that easy when it comes to a marriage.

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