Stephen Hawking died this week on March 14, 2018. I didn’t know Mr. Hawking. I know little about him except that he was a world-renowned physicist. Physics isn’t my thing. I haven’t read any of his books. Yet, I have been awed and inspired by this man. He lived what he preached: Don’t give up.
At the age of 22, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with a rare form of a motor neuron disease. Doctors predicted he did not have long to live. Yet live is what he did.
I’m certain many people looked at him with a certain amount of pity. He couldn’t speak except through a voice synthesizer. His body was twisted and unable to bear his weight. I looked at him and saw not only the intelligence of the man, not only a man in a wheelchair but the persistence of a remarkable spirit.
The disease took many things away from him. Yet, he persisted. He didn’t let his whole existence be about the disease. He looked up at the stars. He was curious. And he found a way to succeed.
Life’s Not Fair
There are parts of life that suck the big one. War, divorce, and loss of a loved one are some of the worst parts of life. There are oh, so many more. I don’t know what your dream is. Your losses are yours and I may never know of them. If you are unfortunate enough to be afflicted with a life-altering disease it’s more than difficult. Life becomes a constant uncertainty, a constant battle for balance. If you let it, life becomes a constant reminder of what you’ve lost.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your loss. You’ll need to grieve what you lost. And like the grief after the passing of a loved one, it’s not a once and done thing. It comes in waves. The waves may overcome you for a time.
I know you struggle sometimes. I wish I could comfort you when those waves are overwhelming. Even if I knew you, knew your struggle, sometimes a caring listener or a hug isn’t enough. You’ll feel alone and maybe lost.
Don’t Give Up
Breathe. Get through it the best way you can. No matter what, don’t give up. Then, like Stephen Hawking, persist.
Look up at the stars.
Find one thing you can succeed in at this moment. Then, find another thing and another. The moments will string together into days, and months, and years.
Don’t give up.