One of the most lovely things to witness on a bike is the hand-on-the-back help up a hill. When someone that is a stronger rider lends a little bit of that strength to another that is struggling. To ease their load if only for a little bit. When it’s most impressive is when it’s done quietly, off the back of the pelaton where someone has dropped off, and not necessarily spoken of to the rest of the riders. Just a quiet transference of energy.
At the hugely beautiful Cloverdale Recreation facility, and at this very loud event, these same quiet exchanges happened over and over. We’re blessed and burdened by knowing the back stories so they’re easier to spot with that awareness.
The Moms. We lost a lot of kids this year. A group of Mom’s tightly banded together to form the team Keep On Keeping On. Team name from the dear Megan McNeil’s powerfully inspiring song The Will To Survive. Each Mom wearing on their tshirt sleeve the fragility of bereavement and Mama Bear strength that live together in each of them. Walking straight through hell. Hands on each others backs.
The story of Quinn I could listen to a million times over. The absence of him has been filled up with such a determined force to make things better and right for families holding a cancer diagnosis. His parents have made him a real person to me although I never got to meet him. They’ve become stronger and are helping to push.
Finns big sister Sarah rode with their team this year. Joyfully, exuberantly and all pinked out just like the rest of them. Her Dad helping her to become the advocate that she is naturally becoming by being brave enough to be there.
This is another transference of energy that happens. Knowing Finn. Quinn. Megan. Knowing the problem is one thing, knowing the kids is quite another. Putting faces to the big bad world of childhood cancer that you read about in the paper or see on the news. Knowing the families with missing pieces. Knowing organizations like BCCCPA that are leaving handprints all over their backs.
The monumental task that is looking after a sick child can be likened to a big ride. The ride can seem never ending. There are many unexpected obstacles to be vigilantly aware of. You need to keep your head down and keep on keeping on. Once in a while out of left field a monster of a hill will appear that was not scheduled, charted or expected. The insurmountability of it can make you want to toss your bike in the ditch and just lay down in the road.
Hand on the back.