I first witnessed death at six years old. It was devastating.
Up until then, life – from what I gathered – was about all of the good things: playing in sandboxes, helping Dora find Swiper, light-up sneakers. So you can imagine my complete agony when, out of the blue, my beloved red swordfish silently passed.
We fished him out of the aquarium, away from his fishy companions, and my mom carried him outside so we could perform our funeral services – I’d have nothing less.
I rallied my neighbors together; they flocked respectfully to our yard and helped pluck flowers off of the stems. Normally we weren’t allowed to decapitate the flower heads from the plant, but mom understood: this was a dire, solemn emergency.
My mom slipped the fish corpse between the mulch as I shed a few last tears. She patted it down with the tip of her hand-shovel. We spewed our flowers (some more crumbled than others) at the earth sort of triumphantly. In a sense, we celebrated and redefined what we thought of death.