It was a week ago today that our 13-year old son shouted from the computer downstairs, “Mom, Steve Jobs died.” A silence fell among the children and myself. Their dad was not home. He was in the hospital for his third surgery, in as many weeks, to rid an infection that has plagued him for 16 months.
Our 16-year old daughter came for a hug, our son at the computer came to the base of the stairs looking up with disbelief and confusion, our youngest began talking about his latest Lego creation, trying to bring life to the silence.
Mr. Jobs was diagnosed in 2004 with pancreatic cancer, had a liver transplant in 2007, and obviously a rocky road since. He and his life with cancer had often been a part of our family conversations. How did he and his family manage? What was it like for his children to see their father ill yet carry on as if life were normal?
One of my husband’s physicians was a neighbor of Steve Jobs. Over the years we had heard stories about their children’s shared sports activities, and smile, in an odd sort of way, knowing that Mr. Jobs too knew life with cancer. He brought to our family this image of hope as he continued doing what he appeared to be doing well, create, invent, and live, with cancer. In a strange sort of way his life provided a bit of reassurance for my family and me. Now he is gone and collectively we feel his absence.
Last night I listened to his 2005 commencement address to Stanford University graduates. If you haven’t had the chance I highly recommend listening to his inspiring speech. There are many quotable thoughts that he shared, some of which have been circulating in the media since his death. He told the graduates that the entrepreneurial spirit is about connecting the dots and he gave examples in his life where significant events connected together to enable him to create Apple Computers, NeXT, and Pixar companies.
His words, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Living with cancer and its treatments can be challenging. Steve Jobs and his family knew this all too well. I wonder the picture our life will draw when I look back years from now and connect the dots.
Copyright © 2011 Jeannie Moloo. All Rights Reserved.