It seems incredulous to me that I am grieving a goldfish. My past experiences of gold fish were always short lived and I warned my young daughter that her new fish probably wouldn’t last a week. But as week after week and month after month went by, she loved to tease me about Bubble’s longevity. A year into his tenure on the kitchen counter, we gave him some little frog friends, who he never took to and who didn’t nearly match his longevity. Watching him circle his little world, I often contemplated life in a fishbowl, but as he would always come to the side of the bowl I was standing near with his fish pouting looks, I often wondered who was watching who. Bubbles’ life was a long one in fish time; I was informed by pet store experts as I searched for a cure to his life ending illness. It was his time.
Animal friends live on a different time line than we humans. They teach us about the pureness of presence and their love for us is immediate and unconditional. We need them at least as much as they need us and not just for their companionship, but for the chance they give us, in their brief intervals on earth to let go. Their departures whether premature or timely given their size and breed are some of the most gut wrenching good byes that we have the opportunity to grieve. It is easy to love animals; they see the best in us and are devoted in their distinct and primitive ways. If you are lucky, you get to keep your own animal heaven in your heart which can call forth smiles and tears easily.
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