To most people, a goldfish doesn’t hold much value. They’re often first pets that last a week, a spur of the moment regret. They’re the bottom feeders of the food chain and aren’t worth the trouble with how filthy they are. My goldfish, Professor Swimmy, was definitely filthy. But he lived through my worst, and turned out to be the best thing that has happened to me.
I got him as a gift from my ex boyfriend during probably the most difficult time of my life, after the termination of my first pregnancy. I was a mother stricken with grief and sadness, craving to love and cherish a life that I would never get to meet. Full of guilt and remorse, I welcomed any new life, in any shape or form with open arms and a heavy heart.
Professor Swimmy got sick early on, turns out you need more than just a fish bowl and fish flakes to properly take care of a fish. I spent hours researching, and finally came to the conclusion that he had ammonia poisoning, jobless, and determined not to give up on this new life that had presented to me after I had lost the most precious one, I went to the store and risked stealing a 10gal. tank and spent my last $15 on ammonia tablets which I don’t regret because as soon as I dropped that tablet in, he bounced right back to life, it took weeks for him to heal, but he was saved, little did I know that he would be the one saving me.
As I curled up around the womb where my baby should have been growing, crying with no will to go on, no motivation, overwhelmed with guilt and loss, I would think about all the ways I would end my life, and the only other thought roaming around in my head was, “Who is going to take care of my fish after I’m gone” Because I had no one. I had no friends. I had no family. I pushed away my boyfriend, my fish was all I had and I had to remind myself that, I was all he had as well. I told myself daily that I adopted this fish, he is mine, he didn’t choose me as an owner, I chose him, I asked for him. I have to take care of him. And so over the course of the next year, that’s exactly what I did. He was what I woke up to every morning, and he was what I saw every night while I was weeping into my pillow.
It seemed like the more effort I put into him, the more time I spent hopelessly trying to train him, and singing to him so he would swim to the top of the tank to greet me, the happier I became and eventually life got better. I found a good job, I paid for a new car in full, I started going out with my friends, I even bought him a fish mate, Fishyslayer, to keep him company while I was out.
Then, about 6 months later, out of nowhere, he got sick again. This time it wasn’t ammonia. I’m still not even sure to this day, what it was. As soon as I realized that it wasn’t just a scratch and it was progressively getting worse, I made a late night run to the store to buy anything and everything that would help him. I did a water change, I added in some medication to heal and soothe his wounds, I stayed up with him all night but it progressed so quick and so rapidly that there wasn’t much that would help him. I called my vet at 4am in tears but he said there was nothing he could do, that fish just get old and die and that Professor Swimmy was a fighter because with the state he was in, he should have been dead hours ago.
I called out of work that morning. Professor Swimmy calmed me through every breakdown, even though he was a goldfish and his life meant so little, his life meant everything to me, he gave me life. So it was only right I was there with him when his ended.
I didn’t know why he suddenly decided to die. I was sad again, my vet had no answers all he could say to me was “I’ve never seen someone value life so much” And afterwards I realized that, that was an answer in it’s own. My goldfish taught me a very important lesson, to value life no matter how big or small, that every life matters, every life can impact a person, or the world. Looking at the bigger picture, I think this was a lesson I had to learn because about a week later, after having been crying for days and feeling a bit off for awhile, I found out that there was a reason I was so hormonal and tired all the time… because I’m pregnant.
So, I say you to, Professor Swimmy, your life is significant. Thank you for dropping ammonia tablets in my tank. Your legacy and memory will live on. I treasured your life just as I will treasure this baby’s life. You filled a spot in my heart with bubbles and taught me how to love. So I thank you, my dear friend. And I hope wherever you are, you’re swimming in open seas, I hope you have all the fish flakes you can eat, and I hope you can still hear my voice every night as I sing lullabies to the baby fish swimming around in my womb.
Rest in Peace Professor Swimmy.
May 7, 2014 – July 31, 2015
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