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UnknownLooks like my long-planned never-realised collection of train songs is coming together finally, and completely unplanned. The ‘Georgia’ post got a comment with two links to the Wabash Cannonball – I knew the song, but had never realised that the Cannonball was not a cannonball at all but a train! The links in the comment to the post point to a version by Johnny Cash (always good) and Boxcar Willie (whose name just gives it all away:). Both really good versions of the song. When I looked the song up on youtube, I found one by the Chieftains with Ricky Skaggs – which is really really good, and worthwhile checking out.

All those train-songs are about love, loneliness, going away, going back home, leaving into the unknown, returning to the long lost home, about adventure, glory, and misery – all those things that make life exciting and sad. Anyway…

Unknown1Anyway – today, we had a hearing. To be more precise, Pádraig had. The kind organised by a judge. Now, if you are living in Ireland, you have a certain idea of what a judge should look like… which is why I didn’t realise that the young stylish woman entering the ward with us this morning was the judge until we were walking down the same corridor.

The hearing was to follow up on an independent doctor’s report on Pádraig’s health. The judge explained that this is the way it’s done in Germany because of our not so glorious history dealing with persons like Pádraig. What made us cry (and, I think, moved the judge) that this was not about what it was about – it was about stating in a very formal administrative German way that Pádraig will, most likely, need someone to speak for him for the coming years.

It was about making it almost a public matter of fact that this all the wrong way around unreal nightmare-like situation is not one where you pinch yourself and wake up in a sweat, you wake up in horror, but you wake up; instead, there is this realisation that it is a situation that you can get certified by a German judge in a hearing, not in court, but in an isolation room in a hospital, with a nurse cleaning up in the background, the judge going through the notions, fully knowing what she is doing, in all her own youthfulness, not judging, really, but consoling two parents who have given up pinching themselves, knowing what they are doing with their son, in his youthfulness, in their helplessness, not giving up, never giving up, but struggling with this upside-down, wrong way around situation that is so impossible to grasp, so hard to deal with.

So, here is to hope, to solidarity, to shared strength, to never giving up, to tears and to laughter, to desperation and to stamina, to life, to An Saol. Pádraig-style.