A Fish Story

Our lives run in a parallel fashion to nature.  We are, after all, part of the nature of this our world.  We are, after all, animals inhabiting our place on the food chain.   We experience survival on a daily basis – it may not be that we hunt our food or gather our fruits on a daily basis – but we certainly have to do our part every day so that we remain healthy and alive.

The great blue heron that invaded the sanctity of my backyard pond three days ago is proof that nature can strike a chord of realism in us,  sending our senses into that old familiar dark place called grief.  It also let me understand myself and my grief better. This has been a painful experience – once yet again – for me.

I know that a 14 inch blue koi may not mean much to you – actually, I never really thought much about him myself until a blue heron sucked him out of the water dropping him as he escaped from me – the yelling, screaming, nutty lady of the house.

I got my blue fish friend back into the water and he immediately fell to his side – unable to move  anything, except his first set of fins.   He had blood near his gill and a huge scale was missing.

He has now been floating – helplessly on his side , for three days and my heart breaks as I watch his once sleek body lay there helpless and deteriorating.  He watches the world with those ever-moving eyes. The other fish go to him and nuzzle him – but he can’t do anything but breathe.  He floats helplessly toward the skimmer and I gently take him back to the deep end of our pond where the water falls and the aerator is going.  He is nestled in the water lilies  –  their twining stems keeping him, for the most part, from being drawn into the skimmer again.  He is dying.

I crushed some koi pellets yesterday and held him upright so that he could attempt to eat and he did.  My thinking is that he would be able to restore his body if I could keep it nourished just a little longer.

This morning I feel that keeping him alive in this vegetative state is almost a cruel exercise on my part.  Is the quality of his existence not an issue or is simple survival enough.  This is difficult to watch for me – what about him.

Unfortunately for me, I am once again experiencing the pain of caregiving for an impossible future.   This scene runs parallel to watching my husband deteriorate and die.  I know what is going to happen and I keep hoping that it won’t.  The fish won’t give up either.  He keeps breathing.

I repeat the mantra: “Where there is life there is hope.”

I have been here before and I can’t believe how much this fish has returned me to the grief world –  how those feelings of dread and helplessness have returned.

Goodbye blue fish.  Thank you for your swirling swims and your energy as you swooped from one end of the pond to the other.  Thank you for the enthusiasm you put into eating all that fish food and thank you for being so beautiful.  You enriched  my life.

Goodbye blue fish.

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