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Most kids have owned a goldfish when they were little, myself included. The very first fish I had was big and orange and named Rainbowfiretruck. Of course when I first brought him home I contemplated names like Orangie or Goldie, but I was greatly influenced by my aunt’s suggestion. So I ended up with a big orange Rainbowfiretruck. Obviously my aunt was kidding around with names, but I took her seriously.

At the time, I loved that fish more than anything. But in spite of how much I loved him, he died. Thinking back to that day my memories come in slow motion. Like always I was watching Tarzan. As usual, when my least favorite part came, I jumped up to watch Rainbowfiretruck swim. However, this time was different. He wasn’t swimming in circles, he wasn’t swimming at all. After that it’s all a blur. Mom called Dad from the garage, and they held me as I sobbed. We flushed the limp orange body, and Mom promised to get me another. All the while Tarzan’s cries filtering into the bathroom. It seemed like he was crying with me.

When my sister got a bit bigger, we got more fish. They didn’t interest her like they interested me though. One of them was brown with black stripes. To this tiny fish, I gave the name Shark, due to his appetite. Technically he belonged to my sister, but I called him mine. Shark died after what felt like only a few hours to my little kid brain. Tears didn’t come to me though. He wasn’t truly mine. I felt no attachment to the little fish with ravenous eating habits. Lilly was still alive.

She was so pale you could almost see her insides. The name Lilly seemed to fit her perfectly. Unlike her companion, shark, Lilly lived pretty long. My family and I knew when she was dying though. That silly little fish would float on her side, down to the bottom of the water glass she called home. Surprisingly though, each time we thought she was dead, she would swim up and circle, as if to say “ha ha, fooled you again, I don’t die that easy”. Eventually she did die though. Once again I didn’t cry.

Thinking back to these events makes me realize something. Death is death, but the way a person handles it can be so different. When you know someone or something close to you is dying, then your mind has time to prepare for life without them. But when something dies suddenly its different. Your world comes crashing down. You feel lost. Based on my own experience, death that is prepared for is easier to deal with. Naturally you will be sad, but it is easier to cope.




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