Thursday, January 06, 2011

Our First Liimu

Because there's not much to report on the pregnancy front (Week 30 - passed glucose test - time is crawling to what seems like a standstill...), I thought I would share a more relevant experience from our family files. The tragic event that has left us planning our first family funeral.

My daughter, Devon, got a fish for her birthday. She named him Finn. We noticed a few days back that he seemed to be molting or something, because his scales were falling off in spots. I didn't know what the trouble was and neither did she, but it certainly got us into a state of high alert.

This morning, she came running into my bathroom saying she couldn't find him. She was already in tears. Sure enough, when I went into look myself, I couldn't find him anywhere. The filter was louder than normal and the girls were asking me about some loud "bump, bump, bump" sound they had heard last night as they were going to bed, but honestly, I didn't see the connection.

I took everything out of the fishtank, and although the water and filter were both unbelievably cloudy (considering yesterday they had been relatively clear), still no fish. Finally, I decided to turn off the filter because the racket it was making was making it hard for me to think. It was then, that I realized what had happened.

Finn was in the filter.

My daughter was already in tears, but this really put her over the edge. In fact, by this point, all three girls were sobbing. (My 4-year old was trying to console her older sister, telling her that "Finn would be back." I had to correct her on that point.) All I could do was assure Devon that I would go back to the pet store and ask them to explain how this could happen with a filtration tank they had convinced me to buy. It was a tragic accident, but certainly one we wouldn't want to repeat with the new fish (whom Devon has decided will also be named Finn, in honor of his predecessor).

By the time everyone was in coats and mittens and ready to head off to school, eyes were dry all around, though Devon did want to make sure we would have a funeral for Finn. We will, and in some ways I am grateful for this opportunity to introduce them to some important lessons related to death, grieving, and the fact that accidents happen, sometimes tragic ones, but it's not anyone's fault and the best we can do is grieve and move on. I told my daughter, if one of the cats managed to get out and ran in the street and accidentally got hit by a car, it would be the same thing: a tragic accident, but not necessarily one that could be avoided. It's one of the risks of loving something or someone - that one way or another they may leave us. That doesn't mean it's not a risk worth taking.

Finn will be missed. And we will never, any of us, forget this morning and the tragic way in which he passed. (No, I'm not kidding - it really WAS sad.) But as a parent, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to help my children face and move through even the most difficult parts of life. I just hope we can find a way to block off that filter so we don't have to face this particular life lesson any time again soon.

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