Thanks to a statement made by his family on the day of his death, we knew that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away peacefully, surrounded by those dearest to him. But now — nearly a month later — we've discovered what his very final words were.
The discovery was made on Sunday, when the New York Times published a copy of the eulogy given by Steve Jobs' sister, novelist Mona Simpson, at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University on October 16.
In the incredibly touching eulogy, Simpson revealed a great number of anecdotes which weren't previously publicly shared — not even in the recently published Steve Jobs biography — and painted a picture of her personal relationship with Jobs, right down to the very end.
Simpson began by explaining the significance her brother had in her life — from the moment they finally first met each other:
I grew up as an only child, with a single mother. Because we were poor and because I knew my father had emigrated from Syria, I imagined he looked like Omar Sharif. I hoped he would be rich and kind and would come into our lives (and our not yet furnished apartment) and help us. Later, after I’d met my father, I tried to believe he’d changed his number and left no forwarding address because he was an idealistic revolutionary, plotting a new world for the Arab people.
Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother.
She finished by sharing how the man described as our generation's Thomas Edison drew his final breaths:
Dr. Fischer gave him a 50/50 chance of making it through the night.
He made it through the night, Laurene next to him on the bed sometimes jerked up when there was a longer pause between his breaths. She and I looked at each other, then he would heave a deep breath and begin again.
This had to be done. Even now, he had a stern, still handsome profile, the profile of an absolutist, a romantic. His breath indicated an arduous journey, some steep path, altitude.
He seemed to be climbing.
But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later.
Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.
Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.
Steve’s final words were:
OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.
I strongly recommend heading over to the New York Times website and reading the full text of Simpson's eulogy. It provides a softer look at Jobs' life — a more human one than we've seen so far.
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