There is a great deal of confusion about Steve Jobs’ last words. Despite unsubstantiated rumors about a lengthy deathbed essay by Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder’s last words were actually very simple. His sister reported in her eulogy that Steve Jobs’ last words were, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
An often-shared essay on social media has proven to be a test of critical thinking skills. According to Snopes, there is a story that Jobs left behind an essay, supposedly written on his deathbed, in which he reveals the meaning of life. However, the essay, quoted below, did not begin circulating on social media until 2015, four years after Steve Jobs’ death in 2011. No one in the Jobs family has substantiated the essay, and it is generally considered not to have been written by Jobs.
If the sharing of the post is any indication, the lessons in the essay seem to resonate with readers - even if these words were never written or said by Steve Jobs.
Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.
Steve Jobs had a complicated relationship with his daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, and for much of her early life, he refused to admit he was her father. Years after a paternity test proved that he was, he eventually reconciled with her. In a Vanity Fair article and a memoir published after his death, Lisa Brennan-Jobs reports that his last words to her were confusing and a bit cruel.
Brennan-Jobs had been visiting her father each month as he was dying, and each time she came to his house, she took small things of little material value. She found a bottle of rosewater in a cabinet and began “...spraying myself in the darkened bathroom to feel less like I was disappearing—because inside the falling mist I had a sense of having an outline again.” The natural spray lost its rose scent quickly and began instead to smell “...fetid and stinky like a swamp.”
As she hugged her father for the last time, Brennan-Jobs says she could feel his backbone. She was walking away when he called her back. The words he said to her then were the last he would offer her:
“You smell like a toilet.”
Steve Jobs’ actual last words may have been more enigmatic. His sister, Mona Simpson, reported in the New York Times that hours before he died, he looked at her, at his sister Patty, his partner Laurene, and his children. Then he gazed at the space beyond his loved ones and murmured these words:
“Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
The last words of famous people hold a special mystique. From John Dillinger to Oscar Wilde, knowing the last words of celebrities is a fun bit of trivia and a glimpse at what is important to people who seem to have everything. However, it’s also useful to learn about comforting words to say the time of death, since even the non-famous struggle to put thoughts into words when confronted with mortality.