Thursday, November 12, 2009

Poor Wally Is Dead

Saturday was a day of tears at the Olive Plants house.

Wally the fish died.

Actually, he died on Monday, Wilbur's birthday. There was no way I was telling the resident animal lover that the pet fish went bottom up on that day. I left poor, dead Wally in the tank, hoping no one would notice.

On Tuesday, I completely forgot about the dead beta. I'll blame it on the sugar rush from the birthday cookie followed by the withdrawal crash. Sugar intake does weird things to a dieter. Even though he was positioned sideways on the bottom of the bowl, the boys did not realize Wally was dead. They even continued to feed him.

On Wednesday, Wilbur awoke with a cold. I was too busy nursing him back to health to give Wally any thought. Wilbur was too sick to notice, and Orville never mentioned it. I assume that means he thought Wally was still alive and well.

On Thursday, I finally remembered that Wally's carcass was wedged between the pebbles lining the bottom of the bowl and the bowl itself. The boys had already gone to bed when I had this epiphany so we could not have a proper burial that evening. I did go to the fish bowl to assess the situation. I was totally grossed out by the decaying fish and politely asked (okay, screamed like a crazy woman for) Michael. He rescued me and flushed the critter pronto. I decided to tell the boys of his demise in the morning.

On Friday, I woke up with a cold, as did Orville. Once again, I forgot to mention the fate of our fishy friend, and Wilbur continued to feed an empty fish bowl, completely unaware that his friend was gone.

Saturday I was still sick and spent the afternoon in the bed, typing on my laptop. Late in the day, Wilbur came running to my bedroom.

Mom, Wally's not in his bowl.

Uh oh. Oh, bad mom. Bad, BAD MOM!

I've told y'all before that I'm forgetful. Cold medicine makes me almost amnesiac.

I gently explained poor Wally's fate and let Wilbur know that Dad and I intend to get him a new fish as soon as possible. Like the minute I am well enough to operate a motor vehicle without endangering myself and others. We discussed buying another blue beta and laughed about the possibility of naming it Wally II. I'm not sure why that's so funny, but he found it hysterical. I was relieved by his laughter, and he left my room, seemingly satisfied.

But not really because before I could say "3...2...1…."

Sobbing. Loud, sorrowful, I-just-lost-my-best-friend-in-the-world sobbing.

He returned to my room, and I scooped him up into my arms. I rubbed his head and gave kisses while he cried it out. We talked about death being a consequence of the fall. We talked about man having dominion over the animals, in part, for our pleasure. We talked about the temporal nature of pleasure and about those things that will last for eternity. We talked about Jesus, his victory over death and hell, and the security, joy, and hope we have in Him. I reminded him that although he will never see Wally again, one day he will see Jesus face to face. We agreed we would much rather see Jesus than Wally. We prayed for grace and peace and for help to trust God in the face of death.

Once again he left the room, this time completely satisfied. There were no more tears but laughing and playing and little boy stuff.

A dead pet is hard to face with a child, but Wally served his God-ordained purpose in our lives. He was here for a time for our pleasure , but in the end, gave us reason to contemplate Christ and experience the peace and satisfaction that we have in Him.

Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us…. Rom 5:2-5


The Butler Family said...

Awww Having a fish as a pet is hard. I hope your son is doing better... =)

argsmommy said...

So sorry about Wally, but I love how you made it into such a powerful spiritual lesson. One of our dogs is really slowing down, so I've been thinking about how we will help the kids cope when that sad day comes.

Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

Terrific example of the learning that occurs in every situation.

A perfect example of why you deserve to be named "SUPER Homeschooler".

Pass on my condolences, please.

Christy said...

Aww, I'm sorry. It is funny that they didn't notice for so long, though. :)