A Small Death


One of my goldfish has died.  Farthing.  (Came after Orange, Lemon, and Clement.)

It was the most placid fish, and seemed to have a calming effect on the others.  It was a ‘neutral’ fish – it was never aggressive, never bullied the others, and it seldom got chased or bullied itself.  I thought of it as probably female because of this behaviour, but can’t be sure.

For about a week it became listless, sitting at the bottom of the tank and not swimming around.  I separated it yesterday morning and it was clearly not well, not able to right itself, floating on its side.

It once before nearly died, after I first got it, but somehow it recovered, so this had sort of been its extra life anyway (about two years).

I hoped it might survive but found it dead late last night.  I have buried it in a place that only I know.

It’s only a small death, but nevertheless… the spectre of death presenting itself again.

It does of course make you aware of the parallels of when a person close to you had their last few days and died.

Poor Farthing.  You shared a bit of my life with me, in a small way.

I do wonder whether the remaining fish, for a moment, in some part of their brains, notice the absence of one of their companions.  (‘What happened to that nice quiet orange fish with the big tail that we used to swim around with?’)  This is something we humans will never know – such a thought could not be detectable or measurable. Maybe if there were only two fish, the remaining one might change in its behaviour, indicating an awareness of loss.  But with several remaining, they all behave as normal and there’s no way of knowing if they know or care (unlikely).

Never mind, I care.





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