Archives for posts with tag: fish die

Yesterday, rather unexpectedly (entirely unexpectedly), my Traveling Partner called gently to me from inside the house “…can you come into the house quickly?” So, of course, I made my way into the house with some haste. I stepped into the living room, and first saw him, standing in front of the aquarium, looking at it, perplexed and concerned. As he pointed, my eye followed… to water flowing from the aquarium… the water on the floor… back to the “leak” (which appeared to be coming from nowhere, just sort of “seeping, aggressively” from the lower rim. What the hell? (And, also… 29 gallons of water is a lot more water than it seems like it would be, when it is flowing down the front of furniture, pooling on the floor, and expanding in all directions. Just saying. “Astonished” just about describes my experience.)

A lot went on from that moment of recognition, until the completed resolution some hours later. My Traveling Partner stayed cool and calm. I did pretty well in that department, too. I obtained a new aquarium was quickly obtained from the local fish store (a genuine stroke of good fortune on that – it’s a strange size, and not commonly carried everywhere). While I was doing that, my partner siphoned the remaining water into buckets, rescued plants and livestock, and cleaned up literally every sign that there ever was a leak, anywhere. (Call me impressed – I got home seriously worried about “all of the things”, and committed to doing my part… which was, after all that, simply to set up the new aquarium. Wow. So much love.)

I spent a relatively relaxed evening setting up the new aquarium, and enjoyed having the help of my Traveling Partner. We worked together on it, and the outcome was a good one; not one fish fatality, a thorough water change (that was due), significant pruning and algae removal, and some tidying up and re-scaping the substrate and object placement. This morning, clear water and happy creatures were waiting for me.

The point of relating all of this is mostly to point out how fucking cursed I felt in that moment of discovery; yet another “aquarium-related” mishap. Another leak/water damage concern. Another moment of chaos. I could have just fucking lost it… and I didn’t. Not this time. Neither did my partner. Fish could have died. I knew that, then. I even contemplated, briefly, just … not. Meaning just give up on the aquarium (the eternal cry “this is too hard!” so readily within reach). I chose differently. Not because I felt obligated, or cornered, or expected to – I chose to “do the needful”, because I really enjoy my aquarium. It matters to me.

We each practiced good emotional health practices last night. We supported each other. We “played to our strengths”. We took immediate action, but without panic. Hell, my partner even made sure I specifically took breaks – we worked on this together for hours. With his help, we didn’t end up exhausted or cross with each other. It was simply the adventure we shared that evening.

Then we began again. ūüôā

It is a Monday. It isn’t a good or bad day, it’s barely even gotten started.

Yesterday evening I had a moment or two of down-deep grieving.

In one case, I experienced the pain and sorrow of seeing people dear to me behave in completely unacceptable ways, and however understandably so, still not okay.  Lingering concerns ride shotgun with me this morning as I ready myself for the day.

In the other case, the wee fish Wyatt surprised me after work by being dead. ¬†That’s just not ever a fun sort of surprise. ¬†As life lessons go, I would have preferred another day, a different fish, or not at all. ¬†I wept without reservations, and found comfort with my partner, who was near-by reading, and as surprised as I was. ¬†He’d also been enjoying looking in on the new guy now and then and had seen him moving about contentedly earlier in the day. ¬†(Oddly, this bit of grief felt so intense in the moment, and seems to have passed. ¬†To be fair, Wyatt had only been mine for about 5 days. ¬†He hadn’t even left quarantine. )

I took it pretty hard in the moment, tears and a feeling of failure, blaming myself – what did I/didn’t I do? ¬†As my emotions began to ramp up my partner turned up, put his hand on me gently and said ”fish die”. ¬†My whole being paused for just a moment, hearing that. ¬†Well, of course. “Fish die.” Yes, they do. Things that live eventually become something that died. Fish, people, dreams… “Fish die.” ¬†It was simple, true, and an observation in the moment that helped me become grounded and calm.

I’m pretty human. I do have a brain injury, and post-traumatic stress. Keeping an aquarium is new for me, and filled with complex process work – I study the tasks and processes that support life in my aquarium as though there is going to be a final exam at the end of the semester. Of course there is; fish die. ¬†It is my honor and responsibility to create a habitat for my fish that supports life for them, that allows them to thrive, not merely endure. ¬†That sense of responsibility is one I bring to my other relationships, too, a step beyond ‘above all do no damage’.

I did some science-y stuff to ensure I learn what I can from the experience: tested the water, looked for process missteps (found a couple that ought not have proved fatal, but better attention to details would have prevented them nonetheless). I observed the environment closely after the fact and made notes about improvements on the next quarantine, and checked those observations against my thriving community tank to ensure I wasn’t carry errors from one to the other. ¬†I made notes improving process steps for my quarantine tear-down/set up checklist. I took a few deep breaths, and said good-bye to Wyatt. ¬†I cried. I cried like a little girl to find him dead. ¬†Some of life’s curriculum is pretty deep.

Today is an entirely new experience. I woke calm this morning, and curious what the day will hold. I slept well and deeply. ¬†I sit, sipping ¬†my coffee, and considering the struggles we have as beings, some shared, some that feel so solitary. ¬†I contemplate the choices we make, and how easily we can choose and choose again, and rage against the outcome of our own choices, seemingly unaware that if the outcome is repeatable, and predictably follows a specific identifiable choice, then we utterly control that experience, not only through our reactions to it, but through the choices that bring us there. ¬†Don’t want it? Don’t choose it. ¬†Simple enough, generally, however tough we may make the process of making a different choice.

Today I choose compassion. I choose tenderness. I choose kindness. Today I choose to smile; there is a lot to smile about. Today I choose eye-contact and conversation; we all spend far to much time feeling alone. Today I choose to change the world.