Death of a Fishy

For Brady’s birthday last year his big present was his very own pet, a blue Betta fish whom he named Blue. Blue lived with us as a wonderful fish for one year and one week.

I had noticed that Blue wasn’t swimming as much as usual and then this past Sunday, when I went to change his tank, he had a sort of seizure, flopped all about, swam a circle, and then lay unmoving on the rocks. I watched him closely and his gills flapped slowly until he was very, very still.

So the husband and I told Brady that something very sad had happened. Blue had gotten old and he had died and he wouldn’t live with us anymore. He cried and cried, “my Blue, my Blue, I just want him back.” But he calmed down after awhile and we decided to have his funeral the next day. As I lifted Brady up to see Blue, I saw that his gills were moving again. What?!? I just told a 3-year-old that his fish had died and then he’s moving again. We maintained that Blue was dead.

The next morning, Blue was still sadly lying on the bottom of the tank, his gills and mouth moving occasionally. It was sad. I felt really bad for him. So when my mother-in-law took Brady out, I took Blue out of his tank and laid him out in the air to put him out of his misery. I went out for about 45 minutes and when I came back I put him back in the water so that Brady and I could have the funeral later.

That little sucker started moving his gills again – seriously!! I couldn’t believe it. He was the fish that would not die!! I texted my husband and we decided that Blue was getting flushed no matter what. I still feel sort of heartless about it. But we were doing the lesson on death, not the lesson on end-of-life care.  That evening, Brady and I wrapped Blue up in toilet paper, sang him Life is a Highway (Brady’s choice), and flushed him. It was actually really precious. Brady had me let him look at Blue and he told him, “we miss ya, Blue. We miss ya.” Then after the flush he said, “have fun swimming in the ocean with your mommy and daddy!” (We had told him that we were flushing him to fish heaven which was an ocean where Blue could be with his parents.)

I still feel bad about flushing him before he really went on his own. I was the girl who stopped speaking to those guys who swallowed goldfish in college and now I’ve become a fish murderer (or really, I like to think, fish euthanizer). Hopefully, I put him out of his pain and I know that Blue’s funeral was easier on Brady than his miraculous rising from the dead.

We have now welcomed Mr. Fishy to the family and we’re hoping he makes it at least a year. Otherwise, we’ll be getting an identical fish replacement to avoid additional funerals.


We miss ya, Blue. We miss ya.

One response

  1. We have a Beta fish also, but my boy only seems to only find it interesting during the 30 seconds it takes to feed him. I think a death with his fish would be met with indifference. I’ll be extra sure that he doesn’t become a goldfish eater.

    My wife on the other hand caters to the fish like he is king of the household. It stems from some trauma involving a fish suicide when she was a child.

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