Friday, October 07, 2011
It Comes to us All
Steve Jobs died. It's hard to imagine that you haven't heard this news by now. The co-founder and CEO of Apple died two days ago at the age of fifty six. The tributes have been relentless and the man truly was a genius of innovation, communication, and promotion of the products which have infiltrated our lives. I don't think of myself as an Apple junkie but we have an inherited Mac computer and my wife, Ruth, has an Iphone which seems to be able to do everything. So called "smart" phones and tablets are a result of his vision, even if we don't have an Apple product. Jobs was behind the company which became the most valuable in the world, at least for a moment, earlier this year.
Because of his immense personal wealth, estimated at eight billion dollars, he was able to buy the best medical care possible, but it only staved off his death from pancreatic cancer for a few years.
He will be missed by family and friends and the world has lost a remarkable human being but Steve Jobs died and we all die eventually, in case we have forgotten. He actually realized how precious life is, and spoke about it in his Stanford commencement address in 2005. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/steve-jobs-stanford-commencement-address_n_997301.html
Why have we become less able to grasp this in our time? Are those of us who are Baby Boomers to blame? We try to stave off aging or joke about death rather than ask the important questions and look the Grim Reaper squarely in the eye.
At St. Paul's we are offering two evenings in October, one on End of Life Issues and the other on Funeral Planning. Dr. Deb Jefferson, who does palliative care work, is my presentation partner for the first session. Three funeral directors from three funeral homes will join me in a panel for the second. I'm looking forward to working with all of them. As I read How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter by Sherwin Nuland, Talking About Death Won’t Kill You by Virginia Morris and Last Rights by Stephen Kiernan I realize that we still aren't very good about having the important conversations with family, physicians and clergy, even though eternity is essential to our faith outlook. I would like to think these evenings will help.
How are you with addressing your own mortality and that of loved ones? Have you managed to have the necessary conversations with kith and kin? Too morbid? Too scary?