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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

Winny, the third of three beta fishes (and the fourth pet if you count his best friend Fasty, the snail) has died. We are more or less certain that the fatal injury was incurred on a playdate by a mischievous friend wielding a cheap piece of jewelry.

Short Stack wrote this letter to the alleged perpetrator:
Dear Sophia, I'm sorry to say but you stuck paart of the necklise in the fish boll. My fish is dede now. It is not todally your falt. It's my mom's falt too!! Fish water: if you stick something (metle) in the fish water when you take it out, it is dry, that is how fish water works!
(Man, it was really fun to frustrate autocorrect there! Nyah, nyah!)

He's going in the garden in this scheme:
  • Fasty: under a tiny rosemary which has since, um, not flourished
  • Reddy (Bob): at the foot of a young redbud
  • Winny: in the hole I dug for a new hydrangea paniculata
  • Daddy: half, in the base of a young but noble elm tree (half still on a bookshelf).
(Sadly, the first fish, Goldy, was unceremoniously flushed because he died when I was out of town. But we're regretting that now).

Does this all help my daughter understand her great loss -- of her father -- any better? It's really hard for me to say. On the one hand, I think she's overly preoccupied with death. On the other hand, I just read that 7-year-olds tend to be a bit "goth" as part of their internal development. She's certainly not as bad as above mentioned Sophia (who believes that she is secretly a vampire and she keeps her little brother's secret powers in her jewelry box). She hasn't even been as sad as I'd expect after each loss, even though she expresses great affection and interest in each pet. And we are talking about fish here.

I mean, fish that she READS TO ("the Night Before Christmas"). Fish that she teaches TRICKS to. Fish that she has tried to get to pronounce the word "FOOD."

This kid knows how to love. She invests, even in small scaly things. And she doesn't get real upset, even while blaming me. It seems to me she has grown into her loss -- that she and I are more intermeshed because of it -- but it hasn't stopped her (or me) from attaching to Mr. Fresh. She is so at ease with having had two Daddies.

My child is such a comfort and a curiosity.

And she is campaigning for a cat.

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Comment by NMWidower on July 20, 2011 at 6:43pm
Oh Supa (Robin) what a cute post this is.  It sure is interesting watching our kids grieve and heal and how they take a loss.  So glad to see the positives!  How precious what she teaches the fish.  I could see my daughter doing the same things and it makes me laugh and smile to think about what a wonder children are.  Thank you so much for sharing this with us..
Comment by Krista W. (whoknows) on July 20, 2011 at 4:08pm
Oh, wow... I didn't see this before I started writing earlier. I just wrote a 'daughter's dead fish' post, too.

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