Tuesday, October 20, 2009


We all cope with death in different ways. For many of us time heals all. For others, we cherish the old memories. Often people go through the cyclical process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. However, one thing remains the same, death is a bridge eventually everyone crosses.
My sister and I were very close as children, and remain close to this day despite our many differences. We are only a minor eighteen months apart with Natalie being older. As an older sister, one would assume she would be protective and nurturing of her younger sister, look out for me in good times and bad, however my sister often had an ulterior agenda. When I was around four years old, Natalie would have been six, we experienced our first tragic event. Clarence and Eleanor were a pair of goldfish my mother had purchased for us as our first real pet, our first real responsibility. We loved those fish, fed them daily, watched them swim, kept them company, everything young children can do with their tiny pet fish.

“ Get up girls it’s time for breakfast!”
We rushed down from our rooms to enjoy the hot pancakes my mom had waiting for us.

“ Nic, after breakfast want to go feed the fishies?” Nat asked like she did every morning.

After eating breakfast Nat and I went downstairs to stare at our underwater friends and give them some of their own breakfast.

“ Oh no…” Natalie stated.

“ Mom!” I yelled in a worried tone.
To our utter sadness, laying limp at the top of the tank, was one of our pet fish who had passed away. My mother, on edge about our first death experience prepared the bathroom for the funeral. We picked the fish out of the tank, sombrely brought him to his grave and placed him inside.

“ I loved you fish, we had fun together and I’ll miss you.” Natalie said.

“ Yea, I’m going to miss the fishy too.” I agreed.
With a flush of the toilet the funeral was finished.
My mother was impressed, we were holding up, as we both waved bye to Clarence. Then, just as we were about to turn and leave our makeshift funeral home, my older sister turned to me and matter-of-factly said,

“That was your fish”.

My first experience with this whole topic was difficult, although my subsequent encounters have not become much easier. It’s strange the things we learn from our family.


  1. Nicole,

    I liked the story that you're telling here. It's cute how you describe the sibling relationship- my sister is also 18 months older than me and we were very similar to what you describe here. I think we can all relate to that first pet senario as well.

    You clearly did your research (one of the Rs that we should be looking for) with the series of emotions associated with death. I like how you use this intro to almost tease the reader into thinking it's about to be a very serious post- it comes as a pleasant surprise and almost mimics the "childishness" of the tale with it's sudden turn to fish-death.

    From a critical standpoint, I feel as if the post could have ending very nicely with "that fish was yours". I was satsfied and would have still been pleased with that ending. I think your last paragraph was being used to force the piece into a bigger meaning. However, throughout your writting, you recognize the growth from your youthful outlook on death by creating this cute and very cheerful dialogue despite the contradictory feelings of serious grief that any adult would feel (demonstrated by your mothers concern about her children's feelings). I could be totally off with this idea, but there it is...

    Overall, I really liked the story. It made me giggle :)

  2. I thought this was a cute, entertaining story. I think most people can relate with being young and having a pet die, so you picked a good topic to write about.
    I like the comical undertones in this post. You describe the emotions associated with death at the beginning, which sets up the post to be extremely serious (I thought the post would be about a person who died). When I discovered that the post was about fish instead of people, I was surprised. However, your intro works great because it emphasizes how important your fish was to you.
    I also thought it was hilarious when you described the fish funeral: “With a flush of the toilet the funeral was finished.”
    The ending did seem a little strange because the entertaining feel of the story quickly became serious. It made me want to rethink the tone of the story after I read the ending, and made me unsure about whether this fish dying was a lot more tragic than I perceived it to be. Otherwise, I thought this was a great post and I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. Nicole,

    Maybe this makes me insensitive, but the line
    "That was your fish."
    made me laugh. I don't know if that was intentional or not but it creates an amazing sense of irony.

    I felt that the intro was somewhat vague; at first I wasn't too sure what you were trying to get at but you moved it nicely into the rest of the story. I think however that it could probably be shortened
    "We all cope with death in different ways, but one thing remains the same, death is a bridge eventually everyone crosses." for example.

    The story itself was adorable and I like the way you write =) Nice work