Reilly got a beta fish for his birthday two years ago (see this post for the details). Ella, his fish, was very meaningful in the beginning but over time I found him to be less attached until two weeks ago. We were at his annual doctors appointment and they asked him if he had any pets and he proudly replied “I have a fish and a dog”. I couldn’t believe the fish trumped the dog in the pecking order not to mention he even thought of her as a pet. Well, wouldn’t you know at about the same time Ella started looking a little “old” or “sick”. Shad and I watched her, we looked up stuff on the web to see what we could “diagnose”. Not much. Reilly called to our attention that she wasn’t looking so good. We watched her, moved her into a small cup of water (everthing we read on the web pointed us in this direction) and after about two weeks of what looked like misery, Ella went off to the fish heaven in the sky. Reilly was crushed, Kate tried to comfort him and he slugged her. Grief is a funny thing.
Reilly and Shad decided the best way to handle her death was not by flushing her down the toilet as I had planned to do, it was by digging her a grave in Reilly’s favorite play area of the yard. It was about laying her in a paper bag that Reilly had written her a message on in crayon and burying her, in her bag, at the bottom of a small hole. I felt so sad for him and how sad he was feeling.
We all put the dirt back in the hole and made it perfect again. Kate looked at the hole and said “Rei we are going to have to bring food out here for her now, we could put it right in her bag.” Kate didn’t truly grasp that Ella was gone but Reilly let her know “Kate, Ella is dead, we don’t have to feed her anymore.” Kate had a puzzled look on her face, I’m not sure how much she comprehends at this point but, we’ll see.