It’s midnight and I’m sitting on the sofa in the living with very dim lighting listening to the hum of the dishwasher, thinking about a literal midnight snack and crying over a dead fish. Before you deem me a hopeless train wreck, let me explain:

In August of 2018 the three of us met my daughter in Seattle (she had been visiting a friend in CA) to help her set up her new life in the city where she felt called to be. She was 19. It was the tiniest “studio” apartment I had ever seen but it had a good size bathroom. The idea was that she would go to community college there and study horticulture. Her best friend was supposed to be there but was delayed in Hawaii for the foreseeable future. We had moved to Texas just a few months prior from Hawaii and now L would be transferring to Seattle from the store where she worked here in Texas. It was a hard transition for everyone.

Y’all. If you have not taken your baby girl to a new city where she knows not one single soul and left her in an apartment that seemed secure but not in the best area then you will not understand how hard it was for us to leave her. Not a secure college campus (if such things exist anymore), not to live with a group of friends or even one friend. But all by herself.

One of the first things L did was to adopt a beta fish. Now this story encapsulates my daughter perfectly. She went to the pet store and asked which fish would be the last to be bought and she purchased him and happily took him home and christened him Bumble. My girl loves hard. She loves her family hard. She loves her friends hard. She loves animals hard. I had to convince her at age 3 that it just wouldn’t be possible for her to be an animal when she grew up. When her friends played Princess tea party…she was their dog. She went around on all fours (not knees–hands and feet) fluidly. Once she even bit her brother. Okay that wasn’t cool.

So did I mention she loves animals. And she loved Bumble. She would tell us in great detail how she was setting up his tank and caring for him. He was her companion when she had no one else besides the Lord. He was her joy. She got him a little snail companion, Zagger and together they were the dynamic duo. We heard a lot about B and Z before Amanda finally moved in 5 long months later and this mama breathed a sigh of relief that at least her girl had her best friend with her now. They eventually got a much bigger apartment and a dog–a pit bull mix named Hazelnut. Those girls love that dog and she is doted on and spoiled as any dog should be. But in the meantime, Bumble was lagging. Not because of the dog…just things were happening and he wasn’t thriving.

Eventually he got caught in the filter, tore a fin and somehow managed to get an eye infection of some sort that made it look like he lost an eye. My daughter researched and did everything she could for him: Prayed for him diligently, got antibiotic eyes drops, liquid fed him with a dropper because he was having trouble seeing the food properly. Safeguarded him from getting caught in the filter ever again. But in the end– it wasn’t enough. He died this morning. His friend Zagger was keeping vigil over him the night before which I think was just the sweetest thing.

She took the day off work. They held a very precious, meaningful funeral and buried him by the river in the park near their apartment. I can’t spoil it by describing it–it’s too sacred. She called me this evening in tears. And I tried to comfort her and she is going to be okay but she’s hurting and I’m so far away.

So I know some of you might protest it’s “just a fish”. But it’s really not. And I’m fully aware of it. It was a friend. A good friend. And he will be missed. Bumble gave Laura someone to come home to when she was making a brave transition and as a mom I appreciated him for that. Thanks, Bumble. You were a good friend to my girl and I love you. I know you must be in heaven swimming around in some beautiful crystal blue pond waiting to be reunited with a girl who loved you to the moon and back.

Mahalo nui loa.

A hui hou.

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