Amy’s Life in Brief


Death and the 5 year old…
July 24, 2008, 3:27 pm
Filed under: birthday, death, fish, mom, worries | Tags: , ,

Orange Fish and White Fish at home

Orange Fish and White Fish at home

So, for the G’s 5th birthday he got a fish tank and two fancy goldfish. The fish have done surprisingly well. We are starting to have problem with “Orange Fish.” (I know “Orange Fish” and “White Fish” aren’t the most original names, but that’s what the G wanted to name them) Anyway, Orange Fish has been having some trouble with his swim bladder. So far, I’ve been able to get him almost back to normal every time by feeding him extra sea weed or worms, but I think he’s getting ready to hit the end of his rope. We’re on a bit of a death watch right now.

So, I’ve explained to the G that I think that Orange Fish is sick and that we may get up one morning or come back some day and he might be dead. He asked why and I explained that Orange Fish seems to be getting a bit sick. He hasn’t had anymore questions, but maybe we’ll have to have a discussion about death soon. I don’t know.

Of course I thought that was going to be the case last spring. One of his classmates couldn’t be at the school picnic because her grandmother had died and the family had to travel to New York to attend the funeral. I explained why she wasn’t going to be there. I sat on pins and needles for a few minutes waiting for a question like, “What is dead?” or something similar. I could see the little wheels turning in his head. Then, he asked, “Mommy? If Grandma Wanda or Grandma Sandy dies, am I going to have to go to New York?” I told him that no he wouldn’t have to go to New York…and laughed inwardly that I had gotten myself all anxious over nothing.

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4 Comments so far
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Oh, I’ve had a fish with swim bladder problems. If it’s anything like my situation, your wait could be a long one…

It’s cool that you’re dealing with death in such a healthy way. My parents used to replace my dead small pets with similar ones in order to avoid the explaining. 😐

Comment by antiSWer

We had one 29 cent goldfish that managed to hang on for four years. We’ve never had one last that long since.

Comment by Reas

I think children are better able to deal with death than adults imagine. My mother died when I was 7. I don’t remember a great deal but I do remember the feeling of being tired of people tiptoeing around me. I also remember being chastised by a teacher for telling other children at school in case I upset them and being made to make a mother’s day card in class with the other children in case someone asked me why I wasn’t.

At a younger age, you take things in your stride, I think. Much better than telling a child someone has gone to sleep and wasn’t going to wake up (I was terrified of falling asleep for years after!).

Comment by cb

I think I’ve always had a reasonably healthy understanding of death. My dad is a veterinarian so all of us had an understanding about death from a fairly early age. That’s why I get overly worried about giving my kids the same understanding of death as a natural process…obviously they don’t get the same exposure to death as I did. Of course now I’m making it sound like all my dad’s patients died or something. LOL

And I realize it could be a long wait for Orange Fish to transition to “the other side.” I had goldfish before graduate school and I never remember them being so much work. Of course, I didn’t have a 3 year old and a 5 year old to take care of. I’ve been kicking myself, wishing we would have got some white cloud minnows or something. Goldfish are SOOOO messy!

Comment by oregonamy1972




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