Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rest in Peace...

It was a sad day in our house today.

Brian's fish died.
"Fishie," as he named him, was Brian's third birthday present!  He was so excited to go to the store with Gavin, Daddy and me to pick out his fish the night before his birthday.
I wrote about the day in THIS post.  Today, Brian and I reminisced about that day - and how Gavin stuck his hand in a tank when we turned our heads!
We thought we were going to lose Fishie shortly after Gavin died.  He was having some health issues and when I went back to the store to ask how to help him - I was given antibiotics and their condolences.  They told me he was not long for this world.  I couldn't believe it.  I had JUST lost my son and now I have to worry about this fish??  But then I remembered - Brian had JUST lost his brother - he can NOT lose his fish.  So I bought a "stunt fish" that night.  A blue betta fish - just like Fishie.  The stunt fish was living in our bedroom until the day Fishie died - when I would do the ol' switcheroo.  But then... Fishie never died.  And I was sick of having the stunt fish in our room.  So I introduced the stunt fish to Brian and told him I thought Fishie needed a neighbor.  Brian named the stunt fish "Peppy."  Fishie and Peppy have been living side by side for the last 9 1/2 months.

When I saw that Fishie was no longer with us this morning, I dreaded telling Brian.  I knew he would take it hard.  But, I also knew that he had an (unfortunate) understanding of death and would be comforted to know that Fishie was in Heaven.

As soon as I told him - he lowered his head and was silent for a moment.  Then he looked up at me and said, "That's okay.  Now Gavin has a fish and I have a fish!"

The rest of the day we spoke here and there about Fishie and Brian would simply say, "I loved him."
Tonight we had a "Funeral at Sea" service.  Brian and I knelt down in front of the white ceramic urn - Fishie in a container in my hands - and bowed our heads.  I asked Brian if he wanted to say some prayers - and he nodded and said, "You help me say them, Mommy."

"Dear God," I started.  "Thank you for giving us Fishie."

"I loved him,"  Brian added.

"Please take care of him in Heaven..." I continued.

"And help him find Gavin!" Brian implored.

"Are you ready?" I asked him.  He nodded quietly.  With that, I let Fishie fall gently into the water.  What happened next both shocked me - and I expected.  Brian peered into the bowl and quietly said, "Bye Fishie."  And with that, he turned and threw his arms around me and broke into heaving sobs.
I pulled my little boy onto my lap - knowing full well this was not about Fishie.  I let him cry and cry and cry - not wanting to disrespect his grief with my own words or thoughts.  He held onto me tightly and just let the emotions pour out of him.  After five minutes, I broke the silence...

"What do you think Fishie is doing now?" I asked.
"I can't know - you tell me." he cried.
"I bet Fishie has already found Gavin.  And I bet Gavin is showing him his new bowl - which is HUGE and has all of the coolest fish toys.  And I bet Fishie can eat all the food he wants in Heaven."

With that - I saw him smile again.  And we decided that when we go to the beach we will know that Gavin and Fishie are with us.  And we can remember them there.

Rest in Peace, Fishie.  Thank you for being the vehicle that gave my little boy permission to mourn out loud.


  1. I have tears too... what a sweet boy Brian is. Im glad he was able to let some of his grief out. And Gavin will take excellent care of Fishy until you are all together again. Rest in Peace Fishy!

  2. Oh, my.... My prayers are with you.

  3. Oh my ....I am bawling my eyes out. I am so heart broken for Brian and everything he has gone through. I pray his heart heals now. I pray you all find peace beyond all understanding.

  4. By far and away the most touching fish story I've ever heard. Thank you for sharing. Sweet Brian, he loved Gavin so much.

  5. Love to the family. I wish I had better words. Virtual hugs to the whole family.

  6. Never before in story or rhyme...not even once upon a time has there ever been a boy like Brian my friend and there never will be ever again.
    Kate, Brian has a special soul. He loved his brother so very much. This story makes my heart skip a beat. I know you are so proud of him...of all of your children!!

  7. Sometimes life provides us with the perfect opportunity to take another step towards healing. Thank you Fishie...for helping Brian.

  8. Beautiful, Kate. You never cease to amaze me <3

  9. Oh dear, my eyes seem to be leaking :'(
    Poor Brian!! I hope that he feels better now that he has got some of his pent up grief out. Kate, you are such a lovely Mum, your kids are lucky to have you.
    Big hugs to Brian and I hope that Gavin enjoys having Fishie living with him :)

  10. I never thought I would cry over a fish...but then I know full well these tears are not about Fishie.

  11. That was such a sweet and sad story. I'm sorry Brian lost Fishie. He amazes me though at how he reacts to everything. He's so smart, so sweet and so selfless.

  12. a heartbreakingly beautiful post.

  13. Dear, sweet Brian. He is just the kindest, most caring 'old soul' and he SO loved his brother. I was watching an old video of Brian & Gavin playing, and my heart just melted. Brian was gathering toys for Gavin & Gavin was crawling into the "Book Nook" chasing after Brian. And I was noticing so many things from that video, including Gavin's exceptional receptive language, following your instruction to "go get Brian, and the pure FUN they were both having!" Thank-you again for sharing truly inspiring pieces of your sweet children's lives. And I love how you always continue to include Gavin's...keeping his spirit alive. So sorry about the fish!


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