From Peggy Noonan’s December 23, 2011 WSJ piece, “Oh Wow! Some highlights of 2011”
“The great words of the year? “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
They are the last words of Steve Jobs, reported by his sister, the novelist Mona Simpson, who was at his bedside. In her eulogy, a version of which was published in the New York Times, she spoke of how he looked at his children ‘as if he couldn’t unlock his gaze.’ He’d said goodbye to her, told her of his sorrow that they wouldn’t be able to be old together, ‘that he was going to a better place.’ In his final hours his breathing was deep, uneven, as if he were climbing.
‘Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve’s final words were: “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”‘
The caps are Simpson’s, and if she meant to impart a sense of wonder and mystery she succeeded. ‘Oh wow’ is not a bad way to express the bigness, power and force of life, and death. And of love, by which he was literally surrounded.
I wondered too, after reading the eulogy, if I was right to infer that Jobs saw something, and if so, what did he see? What happened there that he looked away from his family and expressed what sounds like awe?”