Posted by: canthold | October 9, 2007

Post Mortem

That plecostomus that I mentioned earlier died. Unfortunately, it was probably dead before we left for Tahoe. When we arrived home, we discovered that the other fish had mistakenly thought it was the vacation feeder. It was a complete skeleton.

My oldest daughter was a lot more traumatized than I thought she’d be. I knew from previous experience that she prefers to bury the fish rather than flush. In the grand scheme of things, I think I do too. I left the skeleton in the tank until we could get to it together, not letting my husband flush it the way he preferred.

The next morning, she couldn’t pass the aquarium at all. She cried at the thought of this poor fish and I had to cover the aquarium so she could make it into the kitchen. I promised, though, to take care of it before she came home from school.

I broke my promise.

I had such a busy morning-turned-into-afternoon that I didn’t get to it. I brought her home from school and had to immediately turn around to grab the shovel. (First I put the fish bones in a paper bag. I figured that it would biodegrade faster than a plastic bag <duh> and let me avoid looking at the bones at the same time.)

I wasn’t able to dig very far in our fish graveyard because the dirt was really hard. I suspect that it will end up getting dug up by some animal with super smelling powers, but at least I did my part. I said a few words to commemorate the life this guy led in our home. I then covered the grave with leaves. (Leaf debris, but still…)

My daughter asked if we could get another one. Except for the new kitty, who thinks of the aquarium as a fancy puzzle for her to figure out how to get inside, no one in my family cares about the fish until one dies. I’m kind of tired of things coming into our home alive and leaving less so. There is too much sadness for me wrapped in the aquarium. I always felt a special sort of commitment to the plecostomus which kept me from abandoning the tank while it lived. I didn’t know how long that would be, but until he was gone, I wouldn’t even think about dismantling the thing.

Now it’s time. No more fish. I have the painstaking chore of figuring out the next steps – who can I pawn off give the current fish to? Who might want the aquarium itself? How long before the other fish die of natural causes? No, I don’t even want to think about that right now.

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