Death of Sushi

Our goldfish Sushi died one night. Were there tears in my home the next day? Sadly yes.

I had preached a sermon and made fun of goldfish as pets (or something) about a year ago which elicited a dark response from the audience. I responded “Wow Airdrie, did I miss some sort of goldfish smuggling operation in the City?”

One of my guys thought it was funny and brought our family a goldfish in a tank the next time he came by for small group.

My girls named him Sushi, which is perhaps the perfect name for a fish.

Now most people know I’m not a pet guy but am under an enormous amount of unfair daily manipulation (there, I said it!) from my wife and two little girls to buy a puppy, which I can’t seem to get my head around. Arwen and I are vehemently opposed to it, not because we are animal haters, but rather haters of picking up poo. We both know that our well-intentioned family members will last about a week before we get asked to do the actual work of having a pet.

Ailish is mostly indifferent to the thought of a pet I think, but I’m afraid to ask her because her vote in the wrong direction might swing the scales.

So having a goldfish removed a bit of the pet pressure for a year.

Every day my wife and girls would attempt to interact with this fish, which amused me. “Oh look! He likes me! Oh look! He’s coming over to say hi!”

Um (I would think)… it’s a fish…

Once a month or so I would notice it sitting on the island and say “Hey, we have a fish!”. I’m just not geared towards things like that the way some people are I guess.

My wife once made the mistake of admitting that she decided as a child that she likes animals more than people. This sounds all cute unless you’re the people that she wished were animals… just sayin.

I have the courage (ahem) to love people more. I know in today’s world there is this huge push for animals and people to be on the same level of, well, everything but this is just another example of sentimental silliness that would never trade the safety of their own child for that of some random cat, but feel the need to give us the impression that “all life is equal” or something?

Before you freak out just take a moment and put yourself in this scenario. A driver of a semi truck hits your minivan because they swerved to avoid hitting a… cabbage?

Nobody even likes cabbage people! Nobody! (Unless it’s in street tacos, that’s different).

Sure my comparison borders the ridiculous, but it’s no more ridiculous than owning a cat. Why would anyone pay good money for something they have to feed who doesn’t give a rip about them? Cats, man… Don’t get me started about cats…

Also I’m allergic to cats and that’s mostly why I can’t stand them so don’t bother pointing that out.

At least Sushi would recognize our existence in his fishy way. Mostly at feeding time but it still counts.

Did Erin shed a few tears the morning she discovered Sushi listing horribly to one side? Yes she did. We’d both left the house when our Neela found him though, and that wasn’t good.

I came back from a breakfast and had been warned how sad she was via text so I gathered her in my arms and asked if she was sad, told her Sushi had outlived all the goldfish I’d won at fairs as a child by, well a year, and that he’d had a pretty good life. For a fish anyways.

I’d also mentioned I’d had to bury a bird and was sad when I was young, which was an interesting story to tell as I realized halfway through that the reason I had to bury it was that it may or may not have been my BB gun out in the yard that shortened its life. But the grief and regret were real and we buried it and held its funeral all the same. What can I say, I grew up with farmers?

Seven hours passed in our home and I found Neela still grieving in the basement and felt like it was time for a dad moment.

“Honey, I know you’re sad but I think it’s time for your sadness to be over before you start feeling sorry for yourself. Sushi was a goldfish after all, and dying is part of life. None of the people you love died and we need to be thankful for that. I don’t want you to have a bad week because of this. So let’s bury Sushi properly and move on.”

We played a rendition of Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, read the eulogy the little girls wrote below, and sent Sushi home to a watery heaven. The Sushi chapter is closed.

Could I resist an “OH MY GOODNESS! I THINK HE’S ALIVE!!!” Just before depositing him in his porcelain coffin?

No I could not.

It was a rare, perfectly timed moment where we could laugh and not just remember the loss.

“Sushi: Loved, Amazing, Brave, Respected, Family, Fishy, Polite, Funny, Friend, Mature, Strange, Gulpy”

You will be missed. For a fish…

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