I recently purchased a reflector telescope as part of a continuing interest that I have had in amateur astronomy. My original intention was to study the night sky, maybe jot down some observations notes, do some simple sketches and maybe discover something new. These are the typical things one would expect from such a venture and I did not consider myself an exception.
That changed recently when it became apparent that my wife, who has been battling cancer for 16 years, was going to soon succumb to the disease. We have been together for 33 years and though she never really shared my interests in science and discovery, she still supported me. She has, in her own way, been my inspiration for a long time, and I know that soon, she will no longer be sharing the special things like this with me.
I consider myself a spiritual man, not really religious. But I still believe that this life we live now is not the end once we pass from it. I believe we move on, and I believe it is somewhere else, beyond what we can see.
So when my wife does eventually pass from this life, it is my intention to intensify my own studies of the heavens, as a way of honoring her and the gift of love and support she gave me. I want to point my telescope to the heavens and see what is really beyond the cluster of the Pleiades, what lies beyond the constellation of Bootes. I want to study the moons of Saturn, or the Great Spot of Jupiter. I want to visit the canals of Mars, and peer in to the Moon crater of Tycho. And if I am really lucky, maybe stare in wonder at the galaxy of Andromeda, or even view a passing asteroid.
In short, I want to use my telescope and the skills I learn to open the heavens for me, to help an old man like me learn that it is never too late to discover the new, the unexplored, the yet to be seen.
And maybe, perhaps, one night years from now, when I am older and greyer, but still seeking the wonders of the nebulae, I will see in the distance a star, a simple little thing, suddenly blink at me from a distance hundred of light years from where I will be. And I will most likely smile and wipe a tear from my eye, as I stare at that wondrous little star. Because I and I alone will know what that star really is, and what it is doing.
It will be my wife, seeing me from her new home, saying in her own way "Hello, I love you, and I am waiting for you.
Wait until you see what you can see from here!"