I was driving when my wife texted me... "RIP Steve Jobs". I wasn't really prepared for the response I would have. It kind of caught me off guard. There was sadness but not the usual sadness associated with hearing about the death of a "celebrity". I didn't know Steve Jobs personally. I've never met him. I've never seen him in person. There will be many people who will celebrate his impact on Silicon Valley, the tech community, even the world of every day people. All true and all well deserved But that wasn't enough for me to feel sad about his passing. Was it because I like using Apple products? Shouldn't be. I like using a lot of other products and it wouldn't matter much to me if the people involved with their creation pass on. What was it specifically about Steve Jobs? Was it the showmanship? His vision of how products should affect our lives for the better? His brilliance? I realized it was none of those things.
Steve Jobs was afflicted with the same disease that took my father 7 years, 6 months and 27 days ago. It's a disease that rarely sees people live beyond a few months after diagnosis - my father died a little over 8 months after his diagnosis. A few months after that horrible day, Steve Jobs announced that he also had pancreatic cancer. I remember sending off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org wishing him the best and hoping that he pulls through. After the ordeal I had just been through, I had little hope that he would survive past 2005. But when 2005 came and went, then 2006, then 2007, then 2008, and he was still with us, I saw it as something of a ray of hope for all people who have been affected by pancreatic cancer. Every keynote he gave was like an affirmation of life to me. Here was someone living and living well after being given a death sentence years earlier. That was his impact on me. More than the slick design or the neat gadgets. So with his passing, I am forced to revisit in some small measure the feelings I had back in March of 2004. Like my father, I hope he now has peace - free from the pills, the chemo sessions, the needle pricks, and the constant pain. My thoughts go out to his family, especially his kids. I know EXACTLY how you feel.