Thoughts about Steve Jobs

Like many, I have been surprised by the depth of my reaction to the news that Steve Jobs has died. In times like these, I sometimes wonder what I am doing focused so much on the pretty, the beautiful and the magical all the time? Today, I feel I must interrupt my regular programming of dreamy photographs to share some of my darker thoughts.

© Jonathan Mak is the original source of this now-viral image
(as far as I can tell on two hours of sleep)

As the internet buzzes about Steve Jobs dying yesterday (I recommend the cover story over at Wired.com), I find myself struggling to sleep. The Noodle woke up hours and hours ago scared he heard something in a closet. I soothed him and then couldn't fall back asleep. My thoughts turned back to my sadness about Steve Jobs and I opened up my Twitter. I saw a link to this article about the absolute corruption at American Cancer Society and that was the end of my ability to sleep. 

I urge everyone who reads my blog to read that link. It is from the Cancer Prevention Coalition and here is a link to their Board of Directors for comparison.

 I really can only think about one aspect of Steve Jobs dying right now. This man died of cancer. This was a man so wealthy and powerful who presumably had every resource at his disposal and it was not enough

I am deeply saddened by this realization. It is not a new realization. But when you are in remission like me, you let yourself forget the realities that your fellow cancer survivors are dealing with every day. It is almost an obligation of remission to LIVE LIFE to the fullest and put the cancer stuff out of your mind. So I have let my anger at cancer's inequities sit in the kettle of my consciousness instead of boil on the stove of my daily life for the past few years. I know that people love to rally behind a ribbon or an organization. People have wonderful intentions and they run marathons and ride their bikes 100 miles in a day to show how much they care. But we need more.

There are millions and millions of dollars raised for cancer research every year. There are big brains at work tirelessly in research labs basically right down the street from Apple headquarters. (Hi Dr. Levy! Do you remember me?). Yet, there remains an unacceptable disconnect between the two and therein lies the lack of a cure for cancer.

It is 2011. Say what you will about Steve Jobs and his reputation for being caustic and perfectionistic at times, but you cannot argue that the world lost an innovator and a visionary too soon. We have lost too many people to cancer. You think 56 is too soon? Don't even get me started on the babies and children we have lost. The war on cancer is yet another failure of an American war. (That is a link to a book on Amazon about it, just go ahead and search Amazon for "war on cancer" and tell me if you are surprised or not).

There is disease and frustration and hopelessness around me. There are terrible, corrupt things going on in my country (are you following Occupy Wall St.?). We still have an unsustainable and downright frightening food supply (have you seen the latest Threadless design challenge about GMOs?). We have a broken system of public education, even though I know first-hand that innovative and progressive education exists now and yet, it isn't available to all of our nation's children (including my own right now). 

This may not be my most eloquent blog post in the five and a half years I have been writing in this space. I started this blog to chronicle the ups and downs of being a mom with cancer way back then. I have grown and shifted over time, as human beings ought to do if they are living authentically and consciously as I strive to do. I have ever more growing to do, and much more work to do with my own life. I get jolts of reminders about this from time to time. I guess this is one of those times.

As for the question I asked myself at the start of the post, I do know why I lean into the pretty and the magical so hard. It's because I have seen the ugly and the dark so hard so many times from such a young age. I sorely need to balance it all out for myself.

Thank you for reading.

Jess