Middle Ground by Susan Weir


A TV presenter recently described her feelings in the current coronavirus situation, switching between feeling pretty low, or else very happy because of the great things people were doing to help. She wished however, for more of the ‘middle ground’ she was used to, presumably because like most people, she longed for more of the regular life that felt familiar and secure.

Her comment got me thinking about how different people with different circumstances might view their ‘middle ground’ and the things that helped create it. What makes up the things in our lives that provide us with the middle ground we all need to cope with everyday living, and what do people need to do when pushed off their middle ground in order to regain their stake?

On my own family’s little patch of middle ground, we aim to keep the things I imagine most people would want – health, safety, security, contentment, opportunity to mix with family and friends, (the occasional laugh). In the current crisis, it would seem that more and more people would love to have their middle ground back again, and are reminded of the importance of things like access to healthcare. Having a family member with PMLD means that in order to remain as much as possible within the middle ground, a joint effort involving the support, kindness and co-operation of others has always been paramount. We all currently find ourselves in times where enormous effort is being made by many people to help everyone find their middle ground once more. It’s more apparent than ever, that in order to achieve this, we need joint support, kindness and co-operation.

After my youngest son who has PMLD was born, like most families caring for someone with PMLD, we had to redefine what our middle ground would look like, and constantly battle for ways to remain there.

During the most challenging times caring for our son, it feels as though we’re in a small leaking boat constantly bailing out water to stay afloat. At times, when storms blow up, we cling to the side of the boat to survive. When the boat starts to sink, we desperately try to keep our heads above water and hope that someone will throw us a lifebelt. Occasionally, a ship might come along, pull us on board, and drop us off on land again where we scrabble once more to find the middle ground we need to survive. The amazing people who support us with kindness, compassion and understanding are those ships. As they sail on to help others, we hope to stay in our middle ground for as long as possible before we find ourselves once more in the leaking boat, bailing out water to survive.

Now more than ever, people will need to work together with kindness, co-operation and understanding. There are more people than ever bailing out water to stay afloat. Let’s hope we can continue to work together to help everyone back to the middle ground they need to stay safe and well.