The sadness I feel since hearing yesterday about the passing of Steve Jobs is a surprise to me. I have no relationship with him, other than admiration of his accomplishments. I own and have owned many Apple creations going back to my original Mac; however this is a tenuous connection with him and more a relationship with the company than the man.
I had followed his career, at least at a distance and usually when it was rising. As I have followed those of other people I admire.
So why the sadness?
My late wife, Margaret, passed away almost ten years ago; it will be ten years next month. She was 54, very close go Jobs' age. Her death was even more sudden than his. I knew Jobs had cancer, but did not know she had any serious illness. Yet, she died less than two weeks after entering an ICU.
Reflecting on this more, the sadness I feel seems connected with knowing that another is suddenly and forever gone. Passed onto or into some realm or no-realm that I have no access to. No apps for this. I'm not trying to make light of this with a reference to apps here, only making a point that solace does not come from an external source. It comes, if at all, from within.
And solace if it comes, also goes. This is shown to me by my current sadness.
Reflecting further, it seems my sadness is also linked to (hidden) knowledge of my own limits; my own mortality.
Thoughts of this intruded while on a walk this afternoon to get a latte. My thinking brought up questions: What of my future obituary and who would mourn? These thoughts lead me to memories of those who missed and most likely still miss Margaret. This lead me to a deeper understanding of my sadness.
It seems not sadness for a specific person, Steve Jobs or Margaret Brunner. My sadness feels deeper, more basic. It arises from a sense of my future ultimate loss; my connection with my life.
And,so what? They died; I will die also. What am I to do? Sit and wait to die? Hardly.
I believe that we create or find our own purpose. To eventually die is not a purpose. Purpose involves "doing."
So a more important or pressing question for myself is what will be my next step, my next creation, my next conversation. What will I be engaged with next?
This is alive with possibility and a more positive alternative to sitting and waiting for an ending.
It also is an antidote for sadness.