The short description of a supernova is a star that has just ended its life in an explosion. It’s a nice description, but I much more prefer the long description, which you can find on Wikipedia, should you feel wary of trusting my interpretation below.
In space, we have stars of all sizes. Most of us know that our sun is big, but as far as stars go, it’s pretty puny. So, it will probably not ever get to be a supernova (oh, the irony!) because from what I understand, this status is reserved for big stars called supergiants. These can have the brightness 10 billion times the sun, just to get you in the picture. Small mercies, eh?
Anyway, I digress. Much like all life forms, stars are born and stars die. When a star is in its last phase, it explodes in a most spectacular fashion, in such a way that it looks like a new bright star. The truth is that supernovae are much brighter than your average star. Hence, I suppose, the very obvious “super” prefix. And my reference to the sun’s comparatively dull glow. Their debris is necessary for the health of their surrounding interstellar media and the shock waves they create can start the formation of new stars.
And then, of course, the part where the elements they shoot out are part of well … everything in the universe. It’s not often you can say such a thing. It’s just astounding!
All this makes me think of a dear friend I lost a week ago. His presence and subsequent physical departure from our lives was pretty much like a supernova. I feel particularly fortunate to have been part of the last stage of his life, the bit where he shone much brighter than a regular star. The bit where I stood close enough to be blasted with his stellar debris.
I believe that it’s good practice to tell people how awesome you think they are. We should really not hold back on this. However, if you want to do it properly, rather just make them feel like that, that they are stellar. This is what Jacobus did. He made people, myself included, feel like we were just amazing. He was not a rich man, he had no superiority complex (even though he was exceptionally intelligent) or any trappings of what is perceived as a successful life. But he had compassion, understanding, an hilariously twisted sense of humour, and could tell a damn fine story!
He illuminated our cracks with his laughter, light and love. Because of this, he will shine on much longer than any recorded supernova. I sincerely hope that I can keep his legacy alive.