My Wobbly Bicycle, 174

Posted by on Jun 26, 2019 | 7 comments

I do not understand anything. I do not understand how the mechanics of the body decide at some point to just stop. How what’s left is overwhelming emptiness. The spirit, the soul has flown out of it! I do not understand consciousness. I do not understand what happened on Sunday when Wally came out from under the bed at lunchtime, as he does, stretching and looking for companionship, when he lay down on the floor, gasped a few times, and died. I am so ignorant that I live without understanding what it means to live. Where is he? Oh, here is his extravagantly furry body, wrapped in a towel, taken to the vet for cremation, but “he” is not in his body. I get how the combination of the happily upright tail in front of me, plus my feelings, my ideas, my memories, could combine to be called “Wally,” but in my embarrassingly limited mind I cannot understand the spark of consciousness.


I cannot fathom how the ashes my sisters and I just scattered off the end of the dock and in the woods along the shore, are related to the person we knew as “Daddy.”


Why on earth should all our complicated brain processes feel like anything from the inside? Why aren’t we just brilliant robots? Consciousness doesn’t seem to be physical. It can only be observed from inside. How did it feel to be my father, to be Wally? Was Wally aware he was dying? Did he have anything akin to thoughts? (I want him to be thinking, “Oh how I’ll miss them!”)


This hopeless cogitation is what I do because I am full of grief. My thoughts : : how can I understand grief, since I’m part of it myself, not standing outside of it. We watched Wally die. He was completely inside his dying. He wasn’t struggling against it, or making up stories about it (as far as I know). His whole self was part of the process. Process. That’s what I’m thinking.


I won’t re-live here, now, memories of Wally. They’re a feedback loop into more crying. Do I cry for Wally? For me? For how I think Jerry is going to miss his comforter, his shadow? For what’s happened to Jerry’s poor body in the last few years? For his daughter, whose cancer has returned? For my father? For both my sisters’ precarious health?

It feels as if the tears–and there have been a fair number–are washing out my insides. Like rain in a downspout. Not unpleasant. Natural.


At this moment: :  I feel the temporariness of things. I feel our precious state of being.  I think we creatures are kind of like packets of awareness (As in, “Oh look, here I am, I am aware of being alive, being myself!”) risen for now from the bubbling vastness of what might be, possibly, inexplicably, a conscious universe. Maybe it is, since we’re conscious, and nothing is separate. Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just exercising my brain. I get some pleasure out of that.

P.S. If you’re also interested in this sort of geeky stuff, have a look here:





  1. Dear Fleda, I only knew Wally from everything you have written about him and the pictures you’ve posted over the years here. But your words hit me hard, as if I had lost one of my friends; I feel it in my stomach and my chest. Our pets are our families and we grieve them like any other loss of a loved one. But I think their souls stay close to us, to their familiar surroundings, for a while, at least, and that has been a small balm to my grief in the past. My heartfelt sympathy to you and Jerry.
    In appreciation for your words and our long-ago Delaware poetry friendship,
    Debby Elderdice Creasy
    Wilmington NC

  2. According to the book Life Particle Meditation, by Ilichi Lee, we are all connected. We are all just atoms, connected in different ways through imagination, but still always connected. The “life particles” that once made up Wally and Daddy, are still here with us, but now in a different form. They were not the bodies, or shells which we once regarded as “them.” They are still here, connected to us, as are all the “life particles” in the universe. You are not your body; I am not my body; Wally was not that beautiful fluff of white fur you once regarded as Wally. Just as you saw his empty shell, and Mother and Daddy’s, you knew immediately he was no longer inside it. He is with you now and always will be.

  3. apparently your downspout is connected to mine.

  4. A long time ago a friend sent a photo, back when that was done by regular mail and the photo was on glossy sided paper and the product of a laborious chemical process. It was a simple image…. a grove of tall pine trees in the snow, with blown snow on one side of the trunks. The trunks stood out against the snow, but somehow integrated with it by the wind spirits that encrusted the trees from one slide. It was a photo in black and white, although through the years more sepia and white than black and white. On the reverse my friend wrote, “Shhh! It comes, it goes!

    Kind of like that: it comes, it goes. So it is with the spirit of cats, and parents, and lovers, and self. And I sometimes know that that’s the way it is we me too….

    And your “wobbly” response is mine, although you talk it out better, and what you write reads better. And for the though, and the writing, I am immensely grateful. Love to you both. M

  5. Love. Can’t say more just now.

  6. Comment

  7. There is a saying that helped me cope with the passing of my dog, and good friend, Boca. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

    Thank you for your poetry and words of wisdom.

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