Draco went down to the ocean (How to deal with a fish’s death)

Our fish was flushed down the toilet. My son did not take it well at all.

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For the last couple of week my wife had been asking me to get rid of our Beta Fish, he was about 4 ½ years old and was looking old and haggard. However I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the fish especially with how much my second child absolutely loved the fish. Yesterday though my wife went ahead and cleaned out the fish tank and flushed the fish down the toilet. She didn’t say anything about it to any one.

That evening as we were putting the children to bed my second oldest child (SOC) asked my wife and me about the fish. “Where is Draco?” (Draco is the name of the fish) My oldest child responds,”Mommy flushed him down the toilet.” At which point SOC’s eyes welled up with big tears and he asked if that was true. My wife told him that Draco was old and that he went away. He went to the ocean to go away. SOC hugged my wife with all of his might as the tears poured from his eyes.

He fell asleep in his bed still having tears streaming out of his eye and asking if he’d ever see Draco again.

The next morning SOC was eating breakfast with me and he asked me if we could go to the ocean. I said that it was too cold and there for we would not go to the ocean. “But I want to go see Draco” said SOC. I told him that Draco was to far away in the ocean to be seen. SOC told me he would rent a boat. I told him that the Beta fish would probably be too far down to actually see. He thought about that for a while. Then he asked me how much a submarine would cost to build. I told him that he would need to be older to build a submarine. Then I told him we were going to the petstore to buy a new Beta fish.

Fortunately for me the kids were very excited about this and decided to call the new Beta fish Metalbeard. (yes, like the pirate from the LEGO movie). In retrospect this whole situation with the fish could have been handled better. But he asked about it with any kind of warning. How would you handle that whole situation?