Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Fishie Funeral

For about ten days, Allyson's three fish lived like celebrities. She watched them constantly, reporting on every amazing thing they did in their tiny bowl. She kept them entertained by playing "videos" for them, and Billy Joel songs:

The Fish, Surrounded by Still Photos and Our Digital Picture Frame

She fed them twice a day, just a pinch, and she usually washed her hands first. They seemed to be thriving; we imagined that we could see them growing already.

So I was shocked last night when Bill whispered, just after we'd tucked Allyson in, "One of the fish is dead."



"Does Allyson know?"

"Not yet."

"Tell me it wasn't Spot."

Bill wasn't sure, so I raced down the stairs to check. Whew, it was Stripe. Still, I was sure she'd be very disappointed, might even cry.

I wasn't prepared for her actual response. When I climbed out of the shower this morning, Allyson raced into the bathroom. "Guess what? One of my fish is dead. It was Stripe. Daddy put it in a baggie in the fridgerator! Wanna see it?"

"Um, maybe later."

"We're gonna bury it, but Daddy says we have to wait till after church."

Well, at least she wasn't crying.

After church, Bill made a tiny cross out of toothpicks, and we headed to the backyard for the funeral. Allyson agonized over the spot for a good five minutes before choosing her sunflowers' bed. Bill dug a shallow hole with a trowel, and she plucked the tiny fish from the baggie and dropped it in the hole.
Allyson's Holding the Body Bag

See the Tiny Cross, Left of the Pink Flowers?

"Would you like to say a prayer?" I asked.

"You say it, Mommy."

I thanked God for our brief time with Stripe, and the fun he had swimming in his bowl with Golden and Spot, and then I asked God to help him grow big in heaven, and to let him have lots of fun swimming up there.

Allyson laughed. "Fish can't swim in heaven!"

"Sure they can," I argued. "I bet Stripe is swimming right now in a beautiful lake."

Later in the day, she seemed to have a bit of delayed grieving. She kept asking us to pray for Stripe, to ask God to help him be happy in heaven.

So I did. I'm also praying that the other two fish will be healthy and stay with us for awhile.

Speaking of Sunflowers
Look how big Allyson's sunflowers have grown!

I can't believe she just planted them at the end of March. That's also when Bill transplanted her little pinto seedlings, which she had planted all on her own, haphazardly dropping a few dried pinto beans from our pantry. Yesterday, she harvested her first crop.

"They're not quite ripe," she said. "But see, they're starting to get their spots." (Is that how you tell??)

They seem a bit small still, but pretty soon they'll be ready to eat. With all those pods, I bet we might have 23 beans to cook up. Yum!

Allyson couldn't be prouder. 


Victor S E Moubarak said...

Touching story. It's sometimes so difficult for children to understand death.

God bless you all.

Sarah said...

Thank you, Victor. I think the fish's death will help Allyson understand more about people passing away. She's been talking a lot about heaven, and that makes me glad.

Gentle said...

Daddy was sooo sweet to make a cross:)

The flowers are beautiful...and HUGE! I might have to have Liam plant some;) Do they attract a lot of bees?

jenny said...

Although sad, this story made me laugh. The things we do for our kids and even for ourselves. Pets become family members rather quickly! Can I interest Allyson in a Dalmatian that I have available?!

Sarah said...

Gentle - The sunflowers haven't actually flowered yet, so I don't know about the bees. But I bet they will. Yikes!

Jenny - Ha! Lola would LOVE to have a Dalmatian for company. Your dog sounds about as silly and annoying as mine.


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