Over the weekend I realised how much I had been missing. There was a constant buzz around the house. After yesterday’s visits, three other good friends called in to see Pádraig. They got an update on his stays in Germany, his days here in the house, his progress in communication, plans. He got an update on their studies, their jobs, new and old relationships, their plans for the future, stories about sleeping on beaches and parks during those famous weeks or interrailing through Europe, tents bought for half nothing, and the incredible amount of German railway stops called ‘Ausstieg Links’.


It is so absolutely brilliant that they stick with him, that they keep visiting him, that they share their life with him as it develops. Really, really, really good. I am so waiting for the day that he’ll be able to ask them directly about their (new) jobs, their partners, their highlights in their lives, maybe crack a joke about some aspect of if, have a laugh. All that will come. There was a bit of it there over the weekend, noticeable only if you knew what to look out for, difficult to see for the eye not used to look out for the signs.

The more it becomes apparent that Pádraig is there listening and understanding what people around him are saying, how they are living their lives, the more it appears to be just natural that he has opinions about all this, thinks about all this, has something to say or ask about all this – just natural that he should be able to do what, I’m sure he wants to do: participate, be included.

Late afternoon, we paid a visit to someone in hospital who just got the news that their illness is terminal – taking it with real inner strength and incredible faith. The kind of faith that allows you not to give up, not to despair, but to accept gracefully what life holds in store for you and to make the best you can out of it. To keep the buzz going. I know this sounds like a cliché, ‘abgedroschen’ as the Germans would say (and I can’t find a good English word for it). But strength in a person seems to reveal itself when they are really tested.