About ten months ago, my son arrived home with a pet betta fish his grandpa and grandma bought him as a way to encourage responsibility. Of course, some how I've carried that responsibility.
Ned has been a great fish. Bettas aren't high maintenance fish. As long as you keep them fed, they are pretty happy. At times, Ned would get excited when he saw me walk to the table as if he recognized me. Sometimes at night, I would look over to Ned and it seemed as we were actually communicating.
I shouldn't use the past-tense when writing about Ned. He hasn't passed on, yet. His health, however, is not good.
A few weeks ago, we got a cold front. With the cold front, the temperature in Ned's water dropped to 60 degrees fahrenheit, which is too cold for a tropical fish. Ned went into shock.
The following day I bought a heater for his aquarium. I removed the lethargic fish out of his aquarium, changed the water, and installed the heating pad.
After reintroducing Ned to his now-warm aquarium, he became recluse hiding inside his house. A few days ago, I decided to remove his house so that I can monitor his health--he rarely swims, barely eats, and spends his time at the bottom of the bowl.
On Tuesday, my five-year old look inside the aquarium and noticed Ned. I told him Ned was sick. He asked if he was going to die. I replied, "Yes." Of course, he responded by cry, "I don't want him to die."
This was all taking place Tuesday morning before school--the same day he won his new BMX bike. As it is, we were running late to school. This added more time to his tardiness.
I have to admit, I made the mistake of discussing the meaning of death as it applies to a "family pet" to my son before school. It was a terrible idea and I regret it.