When the New York Times reported that Steve Jobs was stepping down from the CEO position at Apple, they focused on possible problems due to the liver transplant he received a few years ago. But the symptoms they listed–weight loss, weakness, frail appearance–sound an awful lot like a relapse of pancreatic cancer. Given that the cancer he had a couple years ago had grown enough to metastasize into his liver before he got the transplant, the chances are pretty good that that’s exactly what’s happening. It’s not the kind of cancer that gives people much confidence in the future.
What it does give people is a little time to plan–anywhere from a few month to a couple years, between the time the cancer is found and the time the treatments stop working. Mr. Jobs seems to have made good use of that time, by putting in place a core group of executives to lead after his departure. It’s not the same as having him there, but at least he’s had a chance to groom his replacements. Sometimes that’s the best you can do.
Before Dan left us, he had about nine relatively healthy months to plan for our life after he was gone. Because he used that time well, right now we’re doing okay. Because he planned for us, I’ve been able to get the house paid off, and have enough life insurance money left over to make some investments which should give me a stable income. Because of him, both kids got drivers licenses–he was taking them out to practice and accompanying them to the DMV when he was barely strong enough to stand up. And because they have licenses, they’re starting to put adult lives together. Kid A is now officially enlisted in the Army, and will be heading to Ft. Benning for basic training in April. Kid B is getting the counseling he needs to get going on a program at the community college–plus he’s got several thousand dollars in the checking account Dan left him, which will help him pay for college. So in a lot of ways, things are going well.
Me, I’ve been a little weird. Don’t know how to say it, but sort of scattered and manic and not really myself–volunteering for anything and everything, taking two classes, monkeying around with a lot of techy gadgets I don’t understand. I think I’m going to be okay. I don’t always feel okay.
I remember his face when he was thirty, and it hurts. Or, selfishly, I remember that there used to be a person in the world who really, really loved me, and that now there isn’t. Worst of all, sometimes I don’t remember; I see the car and think he’s home, think I’m going to tell him about something that happened. Then I do remember, and that really hurts.