Sadly, today Sonic the fish joined his tank mate in the great ocean in the sky. Tyler made the sad discovery when he went to feed his fish friend some dinner. I had my camera with me intending to photograph the swanky new digs we bought for Sonic at PetSmart on Monday, but t'was not to be.
John had spirited Tails the fish away in the dead of night when Tyler was sound asleep Monday night (Tails never made it into the new tank). I guess he thought it would be less upsetting for Ty if Tails was just missing the next day. John didn't expect Tyler to ask him such detailed questions about where Tails went. Daddy made the mistake of fibbing and telling Tyler that he "buried" Tails in the yard...when in fact he had done the time honored burial at sea via the toilet.
I shook my head as John related his awkward conversation and the fib grew into an inflated lie as Tyler asked things like, "Did you give Tails a grave stone?" "Can I see where you buried him?" "Can we dig him up?" Erm. Oh boy.
I took a different tact with Sonic. I reminded Tyler about the movie Finding Nemo and how Nemo pretended to be dead in order to escape life in the dentist's tank and return to the sea...via the toilet. I asked Tyler if he thought we should send Sonic back to the sea in the same way and he agreed that was a good idea.
I asked Tyler if he wanted to say a few words before we flushed, but he looked at me with a quivering lower lip and said he couldn't. So I reassured him and took over as celebrant of our little burial ceremony. I reflected on how Sonic arrived in our family, his excitement over his fancy new home, and what a good fish friend he has been for the past week. And when Tyler declined the honor of flushing as tears slid down his cheeks, I pushed the lever and waved goodbye to Sonic the fish.
To my surprise, I was crying too. Tyler hurried out of the bath room crying "I'm sad!" and I followed. I'm unsure if my way of handling the loss of Tyler's first official pet was better than the way John did it. But Tyler recovered quickly with a few hugs from Mommy and is now eagerly looking forward to our next trip to PetSmart to get 3 new fish of his choice.
Ah, if only we could all be so resilient in the face of loss.