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Death is Hard, Even of the Littlest Creatures


Henry was SO excited when he won this little guy at the fair last month. Unfortunately, that excitement shifted to absolute heartache when the fish died 24 hours later. Even though it was just a little creature and had only been with us a short time, the death brought up lots of questions ("wait--you mean everything dies? even M.E.?") and was tough for Henry to deal with. The thought of flushing him down the toilet (as Mommy suggested) was too much to handle.

So, instead, we planted a geranium and placed Sterling beneath the plant to fertilize it. Henry loves history and the stories of Native Americans, so he was happy to do something similar to what was taught by them to the early settlers of this country. And, even though his fish is not here anymore, he is not completely gone, either.

This was a moment of both difficulty and growth for both of us, and yet another reminder that the challenges of parenthood are completely impossibly to imagine until you are right in the middle of it.

Have your children had to deal with the loss of a pet? Does anyone else have fish planted in their yards?

XO

9 comments:

lois mae said...

i have a hamster buried in mine. i ant imagine what it must be like explaining life to a little person!

jadie said...

aww how sweet that you planted him! we had a big fish tank and i was always burying them in our flower beds. and our cat would always dig them up and leave behind tiny fish skeletons...

Anna said...

I teach preschool, a class of 4 year olds, and we began addressing death when we got a fish tank- it seems inevitable with fish. We started a fish cemetary in our school's garden. There are lots of great children's books out there about the cycle of life. My favorite is, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia.

stephanie said...

as a child i never could handle the flushing of the fish. therefore we had many fish (and birds...) buried in our garden. i like the idea of the little souls flourishing by making the garden grow

Windsor Grace said...

We had all kinds of fun things planted in our side yard "the animal graveyard" when I was a kid.

Sitting In A Tree Kissing said...

Ohh . . . that is just too sad indeed. But it seemed like he had a good life in his jelly jar.

kate said...

Oh yes. An apartment dwelling friend's hamster, our pet gecko and our pet fish. Tough conversations - what happens after death etc. But while my kids were sad they also now know it's a fact of life and it helped us parents decide what kind of belief system we wanted to teach in our family. (Lapsed Buddhists ha ha). Wait til you have the conversations about sex! Communication is key.

Alycia (The Curious Pug) said...

aw poor little guy :( how sweet you buried him in a plant. i still feel guilty flushing fish when they die.

Bridget said...

that's such a nice idea to do with him! and why do fair fish always die so fast?!