RIP, Danule

That ice storm left us without power for nearly four days. We stayed with dear friends one night and with my Mom for two nights. We came back to our house several times a day to check on our two dogs, two goldfish and Mia’s tiny little frog that lives in a small, clear plastic box. There were two frogs initially but one died about three months ago. It blew up like Dom Deluise and floated to the top of of the water.

Our house was about 45 degrees during the day but all of our pets seemed to be managing just fine. Our power was restored late Saturday afternoon. We packed up at my Mom’s house and came home as quickly as possible.

When I checked on the fish, I noticed only one survived the cold. It was Mia’s black goldfish Danule (it’s pronounced just like Daniel but she wanted to spell it different because she thinks he deserves a unique spelling) who bought the farm. I took Danule out of the fish tank and laid him on a paper towel that I had folded up into a fish-sized pillow and called Mia into the kitchen to break the news. Her best friend, Emma, was with her so she tried to put on a brave face. She asked if we could say prayers over him and bury him next to the other fish, frog, and hermit crabs that we’ve lost over the past couple of years.

Mia takes the burial of her pets very seriously. The funerals are brief but she puts several minutes of thought into the song choice. Past songs have included ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’ and ‘America the Beautiful’. I’m not sure why they’re always patriotic, but they are. It seems that her pets are veterans of some animal military that I have no knowledge of. She stands at attention, saluting, and singing and staring straight ahead. We told her that there was an Elton John song called “Daniel” and that maybe that would be a good one to sing at the funeral. I told her that I could bring my phone to the grave site and play it on YouTube. She asked if we would sing a little bit of it so she could decide if it was a good choice or not. Garrett and I sang the first few lines which made her burst into tears. She said it was the saddest song she’d ever heard and what were we trying to do, make her feel WORSE? She thought for a few minutes and decided on ‘Georgia On My Mind’. Not exactly patriotic but she was pleased with her choice.

Mia, Emma and I went outside with a tablespoon to dig a tiny grave for the dead-ass goldfish. Mia carried Danule on the paper towel pillow with great reverence- like a kid carrying a wedding ring down the isle toward a couple about to wed. She placed Danule in the six- inches- deep hole, covered him, and placed two sticks to form a cross on top of the grave. We prayed the Our Father over him. She saluted, stood at attention and began singing.

Mia: “Georgia, Georgia, the whole night through…(she dropped her salute) wait, Mom, do you think I should change the word ‘Georgia’ to ‘Danule’? Like, make it about him?”

Me: “Sure- however you’d like to sing it is fine.”

She started at the beginning.

Mia (now saluting again): “Danule, Danule, you were my fish…you were black and had big eyes and you liked your fish fooooood-”

She stopped singing and said “I can’t think of words for this stupid song. Let’s just go inside. He’s just a stupid fish. He probably didn’t even know who I was. I couldn’t hold him or play with him or brush his hair.”

Me: “Okay, well, do you want to say anything else before we go inside?”

Mia: “Blah, blah you were a good fish until you died and then you sucked. Done. Let’s go.”

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