Ordinarily, I try to take a person's death as a reason to celebrate life. When Dennis Hopper died, I bought a six pack of (Fuck Heinekin!) Pabst Blue Ribbon! and watched Blue Velvet. Steve Jobs passing gives me a bit more pause because I found out last week that my mother's husband (Mark) has been diagnosed with stage four cancer. He's not really a father figure to me, my mother married him when I was a freshman in college, but he's been a fixture at holidays for the past 20 years and I consider him a close friend. The doctors told him he's got about a year to live, he has tumors throughout his vertebrae and in his brain and while they may be able to extend his life a bit, the treatment will make what little life he has left quite miserable. I can't even imagine facing a decision like that.
Steve Jobs lost his battle with cancer after many years of fighting and it seems a shame that we can spend so much money designing weapons used to kill other human beings yet complain about the cost and ethics of research designed to save lives. While Mark's cancer was caught too late to realistically do anything about it, someday perhaps we'll devise methods of saving the lives of the Steve Jobs of the world. But it will require a reworking of our priorities.