This is a man whose greatness will only become more obvious with time. He was a passionate and dedicated scientist, whose role in bringing Europe into the sphere of severe storms meteorology cannot be underestimated. He was truly a leader in his chosen field, and people gladly followed his lead because he never hesitated to roll up his sleeves and pitch in wherever it was needed. A towering figure among scientists of his time, truly - certainly not limited to his physical stature (he was an imposing physical figure, exceeded only by his many important scientific accomplishments).
But Nikolai wasn't some 2-dimensional, cardboard cut-out version of a human being. He relished the good things in his life: the love of his wife, Birgit, and his two boys, Gregor and Armin; a good German beer: a tasty meal grilled on the patio outside his flat; his bonsai trees; AC/DC music; and so on. His love of life is all the more poignant for all of us who knew him, with its loss.
There can be no words of comfort to explain the inexplicable death of a man in his prime, with so much that he (and we) had to look forward to. It's a mystery of life I simply don't understand - why a good man is cut down well before his potential is fulfilled. I should not be mourning his loss - that's just wrong in so many ways. Death is a part of life, but Nikolai's was too soon! Too soon!!!
Nevertheless, I want to make sure that we all appreciate the vast happiness he brought to so many and the numerous contributions of this great man, and not to spend too much time dwelling over his loss. Rather, we should be grateful to Providence for allowing us the time we had with him. He enriched the lives of so many, it would be selfish to dwell on the negative part - losing him prematurely. Instead, we need to pick up the pieces of his dreams and work to make them real, as he would have wanted us to do. His dreams were great, and so was he. We would be remiss if we let his dreams die with him.
And we should each do whatever we can to comfort his family, in their anguish. We all share in their grief. It breaks my heart to think about Birgit and the boys ... who will be struggling to deal with this tragedy.