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Monday, March 17, 2008

Our First Family Death

It's an inevitable event in any family. Not one that anyone really looks forward to with great anticipation. However, when you become a parent one of the initial fears is how you deal with death when it effects the lives of your kids.

Today was the first such occurrence. We lost not only a member of the family, but our newest member: Goldie. She was Sarah's goldfish and she was loved.

We got her because Sarah received a coupon for a free goldfish when a local pet store came in her pre-school for pet day. We talked about getting the goldfish for about two weeks. Then we finally made the big trip to Petland to pick and welcome this aquatic friend to la familia. It was really sweet. Sarah was so excited.

We got Goldie home and introduced her to her new home where she would eat, sleep, and swim for the rest of her life. Little did we know what a short life that would be - one week for us. And so, sometime between 12:30am and 7:00am this morning, Goldie when to that great big fish bowl in the sky.

It also marked that moment in a parent's life when you have to step and face your fears of communicating the truth about a brutal reality in simply, appropriate and compassionate ways. And so I did my very best to answer the questions, "Why did this happen? How did she die? When did it happen? Where is she at now?"

You know, it's funny, I knew this conversation was going to happen sooner than later with the addition of a goldfish to the family. I am thankful for little moments like these to care for my kids in simple, yet meaningful and loving ways. Now we prepare for the big funeral and burial that will take place in the backyard (I gently pushed for the ceremonial toilet flush, but that was quickly poo-pooed - get it!?) later tonight.

Do you remember the first time you dealt with death as a kid whether it was family, friend or pet? you remember the first time you experienced this event with your kids, how you felt, how you communicated, and what you did? I bet there are some amazing, funny, and tender stories out there that would enlighten us all.

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