From Thursday:

Hi everyone,
It is with great sadness that I write this email. This morning, we encountered a very sad and unexpected situation. Asher’s beloved fish Clifford died.
 
We found him floating at the top of his tank serenely and Asher bravely used a net to fish him out. Asher, Eliana and I had a brief memorial ceremony before sending him down the toilet to his ultimate resting place. It was emotional for everyone.
 
Clifford was almost 2 years old. He was a hardy goldfish who endured much neglect amid the bustle of our crazy life. He was fed most days by all the children and many family members helped care for him when we were out of town. Of course, it’s never easy to say goodbye to a loved one and certainly not when it is an unexpected farewell.
 
As Eliana remarked before leaving for school, “I’ve never known anyone who died.” Too true.
 
Asher kept himself together although he said he was quite sad. But I suppose we must remember that with every ending comes a beginning. Shaya took the news hardest of all – possibly because, resting after a night of strep throat and high fever, he was not present at the farewell. Everyone needs closure.
 
I hope your day had a happier start than ours did. We will persevere despite the absence of our little Clifford.
Love, Lynne

Since then, several parents have suggested that I could have gotten rid of Clifford and replaced him unbeknownst to my children with a new identical goldfish. Truthfully, it didn’t even occur to me – I think I would feel guilty for years if I were to masquerade a similar but altogether different fish as our little Clifford.

And besides, isn’t this a sort of rite of childhood passage?


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