When My Son’s Fish Died

I have a hard time getting attached to living things. I am sensitive and am an over thinker. This is one of the main reasons that I did NOT want to let my kids get small animals, especially fish. Fish aren’t known to have a great life cycle and there are lots of things that can go wrong when owning fish. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. We already have two dogs and a cat.  My eldest son really really wanted a pet of his own and loved the idea of having a fish in his bedroom. We set up an agreement on what responsibilities he would need to show before I would consider it. A few months later after some hard work and growth on his part I gave in. We now had three pretty fish in our home.

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About a month into being a fish owner my son went on a week long vacation with his Mimi. Left in charge of these three fish who will remain unnamed, I had a bad feeling. You don’t even have to guess what happened. Yes, half way through his vacation somehow the fish got a disease and two of the three passed away. My youngest son and I cried and said a prayer as we flushed away the sad little creatures. My husband and I decided we would wait for our son to come home to tell him the sad news. I was so worried how he would take it. After shedding quite a few tears I decided I needed to prepare so I went to the library. Here are three great books that I found that can be helpful for kids (and their oversensitive mothers): When a Pet Dies, Let’s Talk About When Your Pet Dies, and The Goodbye Book.


Before my eldest was scheduled to come home I made sure to read them with my youngest and we both found solace in the simple and comforting words. I was ready.

The day arrived and on the drive home from the airport we broke the news and I had my bag of books on the ready- my tone was gentle and arms open ready for cuddles. I was surprised with what happened….

In a voice much like Charlie Brown’s signature “Good Grief” he said “Oh, Mom!” rolled his eyes and asked if I was OK. While letting out both a sign of relief and a laugh because I should have known my logical, practical little boy understood the nature of fish and although he was bummed, that was just it. Not a huge ordeal, just part of life. I wish I had some of his strength and ability to rationalize.

That being said, he did read the books and enjoyed a little chuckle at my sensitivity.

Happy Reading!


One thought on “When My Son’s Fish Died

  1. It’s always comforting to know there are such wonderful books to help explore and validate the reality of loosing a pet.


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