Sunday, November 9, 2014

Danger: Sadness Ahead

Absolutely devastating.  

That's all I can say about The Theory of  Everything, based on the memoir by Jane Hawking, his wife.

Go see it if you have the stamina.

My friend Rhoda died of ALS when she had two little boys and when my kids were young.  That made watching this film even more difficult.

My question was: why did she only live about five years after her diagnosis, while Stephen Hawking has lived fifty years and more?

Apparently the answer lies in the particular variety of genes and other factors causing the abnormal protein deposits in the brain.  Rhoda's illness was actually very different from Stephen's, though they both fall under the umbrella of motor-neuron disease.

No doubt Stephen has read all about the varieties of ALS and understands them about as well as he understands black holes and quantum gravity.

How unpleasant to set out to tackle the mystery of the origin of the universe and run head-on into a completely different mystery.

The film does an excellent job of making the relationship between Stephen and his wife believable.

I so much did not want her to have another love interest... but that gift clearly outside her control is the heart of why the film is uplifting.    

Actually, this is a film to make you believe in a Creator of the universe who takes an interest in each of us little earthlings.

It certainly does seem like a miracle that Stephen was given another fifty years of life after his diagnosis.

An equal miracle is that Jane, in the one hour a week not devoted to care of her husband and three children, met a man who had lost his wife to leukemia and whom she eventually married.

How the hell could that have happened?  Unless maybe there is a loving Creator after all.

As Stephen would have said, what is the probability?


Revealing interview with Jane:

Comparison of the film with the various memoirs:

More on ALS:

Biographer Kitty Ferguson notes in her 2012 book, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind: "There has been recent evidence that [Lou] Gehrig may not have had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but another disease similar to it" (p. 3). 

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