October 05, 2011

Thoughts About a Man I Didn't Know

My grandfather was younger than Steve Jobs when he died of cancer. I don't remember thinking of him as a young man, he was my grandfather. But he was a young man.

My uncle was younger than Steve Jobs when he died of Pancreatic Cancer. He seemed like a young man. He was.

This thing about Steve's death is really bugging me. I've spent the better part of the evening trying to figure out why.

Why would the death of a man I didn't know bother me?

I don't own an iPhone (husband does). I'm not an Apple freak (husband kinda is). I don't use an iPad (husband does).

What bugs me is... with all his money and his connections, he couldn't save his life against pancreatic cancer.

You may be saying, "Does a rich man deserve to live more than a poor man?" No. Not at all. But if the rich man can throw money at it and survive, beat it, then there is hope that the science has come to the point that the rest of us can too.

I had hoped there was something out there somewhere that would show me... that given time, we could all beat it.

And that didn't happen.

Granted he lived far longer than my uncle. It is coming up on 10 years, I believe since he passed. He died on his first day of Chemo. I remember not praying for his survival, but instead for no suffering. 'Dear Lord, do not let him suffer. He does not deserve to suffer. If he is to suffer, please take him soon.' We all prayed that. Our prayers were answered... no suffering. Our hearts are still heavy.

But Steve didn't beat it and I wanted him to so that there was hope for the every man. And I think that's what bugs me, is I feel like the hope has been extinguished.

And I look at what he brought to the table and I do find it amazing. I grew up thinking, 'What is left to invent?! What else could change someone's life like cars and air travel?"

Now we have smart phones, lap tops, desk tops... all in our HOUSE and they're used constantly. Although he didn't invent them, he was a catalyst and was part of it all. The iPod and iPhones have changed so much... two little gadgets, merged now into one.

Who would think that people would watch their movies wherever they were? That playing with a screen with so many apps would function like it does, instead of pressing buttons.

So MUCH has happened in the last 20 years and he was a big part of it.

And he couldn't save his life.

That bugs me.

Posted by Boudicca at October 5, 2011 09:56 PM

I know. He was taken too soon. But from what little I know, he seemed to be a really strong person to the end. I think we morn not only for him and his family, but for what could have been.

Posted by: DogsDontPurr at October 5, 2011 11:06 PM

Well said...you wrote what was in my heart!

Posted by: PeggyK at October 6, 2011 05:28 AM

I think you just wrote what we're all feeling...

Posted by: pam at October 6, 2011 09:21 AM

I always feel very disheartened, and sad, when I see the frailties and limitations of a person who heretofore seemed so immortal.

Posted by: Erica at October 6, 2011 11:45 AM

One of the sadder conversations I ever had was with a college friend who was driving us to attend a regatta at the US Naval Academy. He was older than me since he had spent a 3 year hitch in the USAF before starting college. Great guy. Bright, funny, bald at 24. One night, on the drive to the coast from State College he said that he planned to live every scrap of life before turning 39. I asked why and he said that his father, his uncles and his grandfather had all died of heart attacks before their 40th birthday. He didn't say it hopelessly but as one who just accepted it.
I spent decades responding to medical questionnaires asking about any cancer related deaths in the family by firmly responding in the negative. This year I learned from my mother that almost all of her mother's siblings died of cancer at a young age. Who knew?
A hundred of us, her descendants and family went to her 100th birthday and she knew every one of us, every grandchild, great grandchild and great great grandchild and walked unassisted to lunch. She had a great Exit Strategy. 'Surrounded by her children she died at home, age 101.'
I don't think that money matters in a lot of these cases. It may prove different when we start cloning human beings.

Posted by: Curtis at October 6, 2011 09:37 PM

Unfortunately, even with modern advances in technology, there are still some illnesses out there that are death sentences, and pancreatic cancer is still one of those. Steve Jobs held on a lot longer than many, and even continued functioning in his duties far more than most, but eventually it did him in. Or perhaps all the medicine and technology and money in the world couldn't change the fact that perhaps it was his time to go.

Posted by: diamond dave at October 7, 2011 05:58 PM