Thursday, April 24, 2014
Saying goodbye to Fina's fish
We woke up Easter morning with no plan for the day, a few ideas but nothing set. Looking out the window at the mountain, to judge the air quality, I noticed that one of Fina's little Siamese fighting fish, Vera, the female, wasn't breathing. And there was our plan for Easter, have Fina confront the death of something she loves for the first time, face to face.
She's had a vague concept of death since she two and we passed beetles in the mountain that had been tread upon. "Dead?" she ask each time we past one. She knows death is said, as I once obtusely blurted out that "I'm going to die" from the work schedule I had at the time. Fina totally lost herself and was inconsolable for nearly 30 minutes telling me not to die because she'd be so sad. Maybe since then, Disney animations have twisted her perception of death to believe that it somehow isn't final, that magic tear drops or a kiss from a prince can somehow reverse it. When I told her about her fish she asked, "Can't you make her feel better?" Not to contradict the Resurrection on Easter morning or anything, but I had to tell her it wasn't coming back.
Wondering what to do with it, Eunbong told me to flush it down the toilet. Scooping it out with a plastic spoon, I brought it over to the toilet but hesitated. It just didn't feel like the right thing to do... Then Fina came in frantic that I was going to flush her fish, tried to slam the toilet lid shut and inadvertently knocked the fish into the toilet bowl. No, no no! Don't flush it!" she pleaed, and I scooped it back up again.
Standing there, balancing the poor little thing in the spoon, I looked at Fina and asked, "Do you want to bring it to the little temple in the mountain and put it in the brook? We can pray to Jijang Bosal and Kwanseum Bosal to watch out for her." "Yes! Let's go right now! Let's go, et's go, let's go!"
Arriving at the temple, we went down to the tiny brook that trickles down the mountain and passes in front of the temple. I asked Fina if she wanted to put Vera into the water but she told me to. I emptied the bag of water I'd put in in into a small pool between some rocks and we put our hands together and chanted Gwanseum Bosal and Jijang Bosal, three times each. Fina cried a little and I told her that they would take care of her. "Can they make her better again?" "In a way, but not in that body. They'll show her where to go so she doesn't get lost." "Will they take her up in the sky?" "Umm, maybe for three or four days, then they'll take her to find a new body. Maybe another fish, or maybe a bird or a puppy..." Fina said, "I think she wants to have wings!" "Okay, then they can make her into a bird!" "Will I ever see her again?" "No, we're not going to see her again"
We then went into the temple together to bow and I asked her to "Buddha sit" with me. After a couple of minutes, I asked her what she was thinking about. "I can't stop thinking about my fish, Vera. I'm so sad." "That's okay. Just feel sad, then" She gently whimpered a little, then we got up to go. As we left the little hall amd headed up the mountain, I told the sad news about life. We all get old and we all die. "Really? But in Korea, some people don't get old and they don't die. And in Canada, too! Some people don't get old and they don't die." "Really? Wow! I never met anyone like them before! They're really amazing!" "Yes. They're really amazing." Maybe, it's best to leave it at that until another day...