Empty fishbowl

RIP "Shad" 10.19.10 - 07.12.10
Our very special feeder goldfish

Affectionately known as "Shad," I gifted him along with another feeder fish to A. for his 36th birthday at a valuable cost of 70 cents each, if that.  Within two weeks, Shad nipped at his buddy, who soon went to goldfish heaven.   Shad's desire to be the one and only fish to reign his humble bowl was fulfilled.  Despite the fact that most would agree fish are low maintenance pets and perhaps don't have much personality, Shad proved those folks wrong.  A very active fella, we would hear him swimming around, and he would once in a while make the tiniest of splashes during feeding time -- his orange-red spots indicative of his fish energy.  Always happy to be fed, Shad pleasantly stalked visitors as they passed by.  

Going out of town would sometimes present a predicament as we would worry about who would want to fish-sit for a spell, and having to transport Shad in his home to the generous fish-sitter could be cumbersome what with the saranwrap and rubberband needs without water sloshing around all over the inside of the car.

Absurdly I would wonder, Will Shad be okay? Of course he'll be okay . . . he's a darn feeder fish!

As soon as I'd notice that Shad didn't look too good (A. even tried antibiotic), I said to A., If you see Shad floating all lopsided, just let him go.  I don't want to be the one to find him belly up.  I'd spent most of the day at work researching sick fish and gas bubble disease on sites like Emergency Pet MD since it looked like Shad had developed a bad case of fish excema on the front of his face.  Sadly I came home from work, and the fishbowl was empty.  In a fleeting freakout, I screamed in my head, I can't even keep a fish alive, how am I going to keep a child alive?!  A. and B. both reassured me, Hopefully I wouldn't have to be responsible for maintaining the right oxygen levels or the amount of chemicals used to treat a child's water consumption.   

The past couple of days, I've been sneaking glances at our empty fishbowl still filled with water and thinking about how much a 70-cent feeder goldfish brought peace to our lives.  While any death -- pet or human -- is a natural part of the life cycle, a sweet sadness overcomes me knowing that what was familiar for so long and brought simple delight, is now gone. 

On the flip side, our charmed summer has been more than a fishbowl full of precious ordinary, yet extraordinary moments, especially our belated birthday treat dates with our nieces, A. & N, and nephew, M.  And during our outings, each of them survived . . . swimmingly!