There was a bit of a grey cloud casting a shadow over our usually happy household on Wednesday afternoon.
I guess, in a way, we always knew the day would come that we needed to bid the fondest farewell to the wonderful man we knew as genius Stephen Hawking.
But like any passing, the acceptance of the inevitable was little comfort when, at last, his time came.
When I broke the news to the kids, in the car on the school run home, there followed a silent contemplation; broken only by my son, 13, who made quite a big statement.
"I know Einstein wasn't alive in my lifetime, so I might not be qualified or know enough to say this, but I really think Stephen Hawking made a greater impact on our world; I think what he brought to science and to all of us, really, was more ground-breaking".
It's certainly a big statement. And I considered it. By no means, was my son detracting from the incredible work of Albert Einstein. Not at all.
But his point was a salient one: Stephen Hawking, in spite of being failed by a body that simply stopped working, was able to connect engage with a world of people who hung off his every utterance.
Here was a man, whose will to live and think and share such ground-breaking theories, defied the most confined of physical limitations.
Stephen Hawking connected. In spite of his astronomical IQ, the complexity of his theories, and the sheer intellectual weight evident with each thought, concept or pontification, he could communicate at a level almost consistent with that of his intelligence.
So ably and articulately could he detail his thoughts to an audience, that where there might otherwise have been polite applause, puzzlement and disconnectedness, there was, instead, enlightenment, understanding and appreciatively-received clarity around the most complex of scenarios.
Stephen Hawking's disposition was such that he could explain without condescension, and he could engage with any audience without flippantly resigning himself to the fact no-one else was smart enough to 'get it'.
This man was smart. That's like saying the universe is kinda big. But Stephen Hawking was one of those wonderfully rare humans, the likes of whom are generally beheld in history texts, who could not only calculate and think at a level of extraordinary power, but he could break it down into a plain, clear and concise discourse.
That's what made this man so incredibly special. And it is that which will define a simply phenomenal legacy.
His message was vital. His delivery was precise. His approach was accessible.
As a result, his ability to engage was matched only by his ability to mentally dissect the intricacies of Einstein's theories.
He put science back into the reach of every single person who heard him speak. That's what made him such a ground-breaking individual.
And it's why, in the simplicity of my daughter's forlorn summation of Stephen Hawking's passing, she was spot on in saying: "This is so sad, Mum. We really needed him, didn't we?".
Yes. Our world needed him. Science needed him. Humanity needed him.
Vale Stephen Hawking.
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