First of all, let’s park that romantic notion of family: all understanding, all loving, all civilised, all friends, all the time. I’m honest: there are things I’ve said to my families, both the one I was born into and the one I co-founded, I’d never have said to anyone else, on both ends of the scale. There is behaviour my families have experienced I have never shown to anyone else – and I’d prefer nobody else to know about. On both ends of the scale. I don’t want to presume anything here. But I don’t think I’m on my own here?

The first time I left home for a year abroad, I felt so abandoned, so alone, that I wondered how I would ever survive this year without being able to share what was going on in my life with my family. Not that I wanted them to know about everything that I was doing, but I missed their encouragement, their understanding, maybe just their attention.

Even though my ‘first’ family is getting smaller, it hardly exists anymore, and even though my role in my ‘second’ family is very different (I’m supposed to be the one listening:), I still feel there is anyone better, more understanding, more patient, more encouraging, than the members of my family. If anything happens, no matter whether it’s a cause for celebration or cause for tears, the are the ones I want to know first. And if I really need help, I know they’ll be there for me.

That first years abroad I mentioned earlier changed my whole life around in different ways. I had the deepest conversations ever with people I had never met before and didn’t meet since. They told me things they had never told anyone before, and so did I. One of the lessons I learned from these conversations was that the most opposite of feelings never exist on their own. They (almost) always come together. To feel strongly about something or someone, they must be important to you. You’d never love, nor relate in a really negative way to a complete stranger – they wouldn’t be worth these intensive feelings. It takes someone really close to you to experience the whole range of feelings. And to learn that love will always win, if you let it.

Pádraig had a good day. Getting ready for and looking forward to tomorrow’s swimming session!

Check out today’s The Herald Newspaper with two articles about the need for better NeuroRehab in Ireland.