Steve Jobs' biological sister Mona Simpson has shared the final words of her genius brother in the eulogy she delivered at his Oct. 16 memorial service at Stanford University. The surprising last words that Jobs uttered from his deathbed were, Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.
The riveting eulogy, printed in The New York Times Sunday, reveals the final days and moments of the Apple co-founder's life along with his family members in a Palo Alto, Calif., hospital. It also revealed a great deal of the relationship between Jobs and Simpson, whom he met first when she was 25 years old.
The eulogy, a transcript of Simpson's thoughts about her brother, entwines in words what she believed were the keystones of Jobs' genius - his modesty and hard work, his love of learning and his family.
I want to tell you a few things I learned from Steve, during three distinct periods, over the 27 years I knew him. They're not periods of years, but of states of being, she said. His full life. His illness. His dying.
According to Simpson, while she was busy writing her first novel in New York, she got a call from a lawyer informing about her long-lost brother. The lawyer told her that her brother was rich and famous, and wanted to contact her.
Simpson said since her father was an emigrant from Syria, she imagined her brother as an Omar Sharif look-alike. She kept on imagining: I secretly hoped for a literary descendant of Henry James - someone more talented than I, someone brilliant without even trying.
When I met Steve, he was a guy my age in jeans, Arab- or Jewish-looking and handsomer than Omar Sharif.
Simpson described Jobs as a person who worked at what he loved. He worked really hard. Every day, she said. He was never embarrassed about working hard, even if the results were failures.
Jobs was sentimental and extremely emotional inside, he was a person who spent much time talking about love. His love for his wife Laurene, whom he married in 1991, sustained him. He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere, Simpson said.
Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods. He tracked and worried about the romantic lives of the people working with him.
While talking about Jobs' illness from pancreatic cancer, Simpson gave a touching description of his declining health.
After his liver transplant, once a day he would get up on legs that seemed too thin to bear him, arms pitched to the chair back, she said. But still he always tried, and always with love at the core of that effort. He was an intensely emotional man.
Jobs was struggling with his health in the final hours of his life, but despite that, there was also sweet Steve's capacity for wonderment, the artist's belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later, she said. He was working at this, too. Death didn't happen to Steve, he achieved it.
At the very last moment of his life, Jobs looked at his children and his wife Laurene for a long time, and then uttered the monosyllables, repeated three times - Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.
Currently working as a professor of English at the University of California, Simpson is a feminist. But still, she had been waiting her whole life for a man to love and who could love her. For decades, she thought that man would be her father. Eventually, when she met that man, he was her brother.