You must have experienced this disconnect: you want to share an experience and your family and friends either don’t get it or don’t seem to be interested.

Nobody in my family ever managed to even remotely understand what the music of Udo Lindenberg, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, or James Taylor means to me. My heart fills with buckets of emotions and memories, and they don’t even listen to me. When I came back from my year in Salamanca, none of my friends were even remotely interested in listening to me telling them about my long-night, enlightening, deep, disturbing, analytic and romantic conversations I had with my fellow-students in the candle-lit bars and never-ending nights.

There virtually aren’t, with very very few mostly accidental exceptions, people I can share my feelings and experience with in relation to Pádraig’s accident and the radical change that it lead to in my life. The experience of this (un)real loss that is present every day and every night. Is mine.

I don’t like charity that creates dependencies. I don’t like pity that makes those who express it make feel good. I struggle with the loneliness of the human condition. I romanticise the lone, strong, independent, nothing-left-to-loose character.

At the same time I want to go back to that window on New Year’s Eve many decades ago listening to Joni Mitchell’s River. Lying on the floor beside the bed of the person I hardly know listening to James Taylor’s Carolina in My Mind. Sitting on the train to Dortmund singing Udo Lindeberg’s Alles klar auf der Andrea Doria with my friends. And there is Udo’s “Reeperbahn” and I’m back, in my mind, to those two years we spent in Hamburg and the rare evenings with a good friend in “Harry’s Bar” or going up with Udo in the lift of the “Atlantic” on Christmas Day evening.

One of the connects, the experience and memory I share with family and many good friends are Thursdays with Pádraig – when his friends come and share a couple of hours with him, chat, exchange stories, make fun, laugh and bring some level of normality into Pádraig’s life and our house. Like tonight, when three friends arrived with biscuits and crisps and love and laughter.