I met a scientist once. A biologist, to be exact.
I shook his hand, and saw the twinkle in his eyes.
“You must come and look at what I’ve found! It’s a hairless bumblebee!”
To be honest, it looked like a bee. Without hair.
The sparkle in his eyes intensified as he told us why this was so important.
This would be the first of many similar experiences.
Always so much to be learned when he was near.
I knew a scientist once. A man whose knowledge was incredible.
Every opportunity was one to learn and share with him.
“You must see the orchids flowering in the dunes! It’s a sight to be seen!”
The wind pushed us through the sandy tracks, and the sand blew in our eyes.
He smiles at us. He pointed at the sandy ground.
There, hidden in the dunes, a tiny flower peeks out.
Another moment that would stay in my memory forever.
I knew a scientist once. A man who enjoyed a glass of wine and chocolate.
He’d tell his stories late into the night, sometimes many times over.
His children would silently groan when they heard the words
“Let me tell you about the time I was in Botswana …”
He’d travelled the world over pursuing his dreams, living his life to the fullest.
Pushing boundaries and charming the world with his stories and experiences.
Stories I can tell my girls later in life so they know how amazing he was.
I knew a scientist once. I saw him glow with pride over his tiny granddaughters.
The love in his eyes shone when he played with them.
“Hop Hop Hop!” was his catchcry and they loved it.
He loved their visits, and gave them so much love it was unbelievable.
He lost his hearing before they started speaking properly, to his dismay.
His illness meant he’d never hear them calling for Opa.
I wanted to tell him. I did. But he was robbed of that joy.
I knew a scientist once. He was an amazing man who left his mark on this world.
It hurt to see him trapped in a bed, not able to do much.
I saw the light in his eyes, edged with a sadness beyond repair.
Goodbyes are hard. But it’s harder when it’s someone who made such an impact.
So many things to remember, to tell my girls about the scientist.
He made a mark on the world, that’s for sure.
I just wish he could have been around longer.
I said goodbye to the scientist today, and I cried without shame.
Remembering a man who made an impact on my life forever.
A man whose love for the outdoors and it’s creatures and plants was incredible.
He left a mark on the academic world, of course, for that he’ll always be known.
I’ll remember him always in that gentle breeze in the dunes over the orchids,
or on a lazy, summer’s day when the sun is gently shining, and listening to
the gentle hum of a bumblebee.
Dedicated to my incredible father in law, Dr Wilfried Ernst.