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so sad

Elaine just called. Her fish, Othello, died, because she neglected to install his filter after moving the tank to her new apartment. She could have done it last night but was really tired and thought she could do it today. She is full of guilt and sadness. There is nothing to do, nothing I can do, except to say how sorry I am, offer my help. It's hard. The fish was very likeable, personable, was a black moor that had grown quite large under her care. I did point out that she did a great job with him up until last night, that he had lots of room to grow that he likely would not have had with another owner. But no way would I tell her it wasn't her fault. We both know it was, and that just makes it harder.

Anyone out there who wants to say "It was just a fish. Get over it," can keep quiet.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 3rd, 2003 11:55 am (UTC)
This is my third posting of this, the others didn’t appear:

I am very sorry. There really is nothing else that I can say. What makes it harder for both of you is that it does appear to have been her fault. I would like to think that there is some lesson to be learned from this (you know, trying to be optimistic .. in that anything can be a source of learning) like don’t put things off, or always assume the worst case scenario, but I don’t feel very convinced.
Jul. 3rd, 2003 12:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I don't think there is anything, either, that Elaine didn't already know. She is going to sell the fish tank, which will be something of a benefit, less to take care of, but I don't think that's such a wonderful result, not for her. She's a good caretaker, usually much better than I am.

I like to think good always comes of bad but really, I don't know that it does. Except maybe just the accumulation of bad times when others have been there in support, that could mean something. I mean, over time Elaine has experienced the support of others often enough that she may benefit from the closeness this creates.

Here's a really sad thing, I think: yesterday she called me again, sobbing, saying one of her cats had gone missing. It was very hard for me, in spite of my understanding of her feelings, to get past the fact that once again she was crying! So soon after the last time! I started to get impatient. I thought about it later and wondered about this, about my own tolerance. Of course I was able to call her back later and at that time I was feeling genuinely sorry. I think that when she first called I was too stressed myself, couldn't quite cope with anything new. I really really hope the kitty turns up. Elaine has lost two cats in succession who got out of the house when they were not supposed to. She tries to keep them in - it just isn't that safe there.

It all passes.

It's hard not to generalize after a while: "I never do well with cats". I remember, though, that when I lived in the Los Angeles area I was never able to keep a cat longer than two years. They all died or disappeared. Got hit by cars, got horrible diseases, were injured, never came home. A long stream of them. But where I live now I have a good record. It's important, I think, not to generalize about bad things about ourselves.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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