When I think about the year and a bit we’ve had since Rufus’s diagnosis, I think immediately of all of the people who have got us here in one piece. The image that comes into my head is one of crowd surfing. I have been to enough rock concerts and festivals to have seen crowd surfing first hand but never brave enough to get so close to the front to be a crowd surfer myself. Yet I feel like I know the feeling.
That feeling of being passed from one set of hands to the next set of hands without knowing where you are going or whether you’ll get there in one piece. That feeling of fully trusting the people who have hold of you and who assure you, “I’ve got this”.
That feeling of vulnerability.
The past year and a bit has been my most vulnerable yet. I have poured my soul out in these blog posts, I have begged for professional help for myself and for Rufus, I have stripped myself of teacher-status to become ‘just a mum’ and with that lost a huge part of my identity, I have practically written funding applications in blood, I have accepted help from friends and family on almost every occasion it has been offered and have reluctantly asked for it at times when I have felt that I should be able to handle stuff on my own, I have cried at the drop of a hat.
But this is what crowd surfing is. Being vulnerable and letting others hold us up. There are times in our lives when we get a ‘boost’. A boost, in crowd surfing terms is when, out of nowhere, you get picked up and launched above the heads of everyone else.
And then you’re off.
When you’re at a packed out gig with your mates, the mosh pit is nice and tight and you decide it’s your turn to crowd surf, you ask your mates for a boost and hope to God that the crowd will play by the rules and pass you along without dropping you (just google ‘crowd surfing fails’ to see what happens when the crowd doesn’t play by the rules). You are entirely at the mercy of the hundreds of hands who are below you. And the hands are attached to bodies who belong to brains who are there to enjoy the gig, to mind their own business but who are happy to reach up for just a few seconds, take a small fraction of the weight and help you move on to where you need to go.
Time after time, during this past year and a bit, people have taken the weight and helped us along. At some point I decided enough was enough and I needed to ask someone for that boost but after that very first hand that helped me up, so many others have followed and for some, they didn’t even notice the impact they had because what they said, did or gave was such a small sacrifice for them and took a small fraction of the weight, for just a second but it was enough to keep me up and moving along. To keep US moving along. For others, their hands have appeared time and again and the weight taken has been more noticeable because they have been privy to the messy, complicated reality and have shared in it. Every hand that has held us up has been noticed and for every one of those we are so grateful.
To crowd surf anywhere far from the front of the crowd, usually where the mosh pit is, is just plain foolish because mosh pits are tight-knit, dense, crazy places where people are close, messy, passionate, on fire and full of energy. And this is where we find ourselves wanting to remain, among these kind of people holding us up, keeping us moving along and giving us greater perspective.