So, Barry died today. And I'm shocked by how profoundly saddened I am by his passing. I mean, just yesterday he was swimming around his tank, full of life, and today, he's not. That's how quickly it happens, I guess.
We have no idea how old Barry was. We got him several years ago at our local pet store (I can't even remember when we got him--it's been that long). And I don't even know how long goldfish can live (pretty long, I think). But dammit, whenever I walked into Sarah's room (where Barry lived), he wiggled and jumped and just seemed so damn happy to see me. So utterly thrilled! It's as if he was saying, "Oh, thank GOD you're here! I've been waiting all day! I was so worried!" And let me tell you--I know of nobody else who wiggles and jumps like that when I walk into a room. Not even me.
When I first saw Barry, suspended motionless in his tank this morning, my first thought was, "Oh, shit." Not an angry, all-caps "OH, SHIT," but more of a tired, helpless, "Oh, shit." And then the sadness settled in. Sadness for a life that had ended. Just like that. Poof. Yeah, I know, it's "just a fish," but still, fish have little souls, right? Fish have quality of life indicators, right? (Clean tank, good food, people to watch, etc.).
But what surprised me the most, and always does about death, was how quiet it was. There was no screaming, no flailing, no crisis. Just death. Silent and deep. It was the same when my father died. One minute he was breathing, the next he was not. Simple. Silent. Relief. But with my dad, there was baggage. A whole carousel of baggage. With Barry, he wiggled and jumped whenever I entered the room. That's the thing that makes losing a pet, even a goldfish, so profoundly sad. No baggage. Just love.
Godspeed, Barry the Fish. May you forever swim with the current.