Connecting the Dots

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.


Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo PhD, MS, RDN cared for her late physician husband through 12 years of blood cancer treatments, including a stem cell transplant, while raising their three young children. She is an award winning registered dietitian nutritionist and former owner of a clinical nutrition practice where she advised clients on healthy eating to manage heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and gastrointestinal conditions. She is a Ph.D. in epidemiology, with an emphasis in preventive medicine and environmental health. For nine years, she was a national media spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics providing sound, science-based nutrition advice to media, consumers, industry, and researchers. She has been quoted in several publications including the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and Parents Magazine, and appeared on ABCNews, CBSNews, NBCNews, NPR, and KYGO-FM.

Reader Interactions


  1. Amy says

    Once again your blog is both heart wrenching & thought provoking! It was our 13 year old who announced Steve Jobs’ death to the family as well. It was sad in our house for a while as we talked about him & all that he was able to accomplish. I can only imagine the feeling of foreboding & loss that it must have given you. Thank you, again, for sharing your special perspective. If only we could find a cure for this awful disease & keep wonderful thriving families like yours from having to endure it. Our thoughts & prayers are with you each & every day.

    • Jeannie says

      Thank you Amy. Finding cures are essential along with lowering our exposure to the causes. I appreciate your comments Amy and your hold dearly your friendship.

  2. dhusic says

    Heart wrenching indeed. Many people were indeed talking about Steve Jobs’ innovation, courage, vision, but your family is familiar with his story in a completely different way. Long distance hugs. This blog post is incredibly powerful Jeannie.

  3. Terri Clark Dougan says


    Your story was beautiful…..The thoughts of our innocent children….So much to learn from them.. I once had the blessing of meeting Steve Jobs… Way back when… .. in Cupertino near Apple’s Corporate facility. He was such an inspiration to my generation……I must say I was in awe of Steve ever since meeting him. What an amazing journey he had here.. I can only imagine what he’s preparing for us up above!!!
    Not a day goes by that I do not pray for Nassir and your family. I must say that you are an inspiration to so many and one of my heros……Knowing what your daily life consists of and you still always have a smile on your face! I admire not only who you are.. but what you represent as a wife, mom and a friend. It is a blessing to know you!!!

    • Jeannie says

      Terri thank you for your comment. You are an inspiration my dear and it’s a true blessing to know you! If you know any groups that work with people affected by cancer please pass along this blog. I am trying to expand its audience.

  4. Susan Polanco de Couet says

    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and words. Mom/Isabel was taken from us “quickly” fighting pancreatic cancer…it was heartening to see how many additional years Mr. Jobs had after his diagnosis…process not being made fast enough. Big hugs to all of you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for real-life strategies to help you parent through your spouse’s cancer?

Get “7 Must Know Tips to Help You Parent Through Your Spouse’s Cancer,” plus join the community of well parents caring for their spouse while raising children.