The revelation is just one of many heart-wrenching recollections found within the new memoir, Small Fry, written by Jobs’ 40-year-old daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
“Before I said good-bye, I went to the bathroom to mist one more time,” Brennan-Jobs wrote in the book of her time visiting her father before his death. “The spray was natural, which meant that over the course of a few minutes it no longer smelled sharp like roses, but fetid and stinky like a swamp, although I didn’t realise it at the time.
The Apple creator passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2011, and the memoir reflects on the complete rejection Lisa felt as the daughter of Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs shared three children with his wife Laurene Powell – Reed, Erin Siena and Eve Jobs – and had a complicated relationship with his oldest daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, who he fathered with Chrisann Brennan in 1978. They were just 23.
Despite Chrisann’s insistence the baby was his, the memoir reveals that Steve Jobs demanded a DNA test before he began paying child support for Lisa, an early indication of what would be a tumultuous relationship.
Describing the inequality between her mother and father, Brennan-Jobs grew up with a mum who “supplemented her welfare payments by cleaning houses and waitressing,” Brennan-Jobs wrote in an excerpt published in Vanity Fair.
Her childhood memories of the Apple co-founder paints him as emotionally distant.
She writes about their “once a month” encounters in which he would take her skating, picking her up and taking her home in his Porsche.
“He didn’t talk much. There were long pauses,” she writes.
“A few times, I felt his eyes on me; when I looked up, he looked away.”
Brennan-Jobs recalled that her dad would buy a new Porsche every time he scratched his current one, but when asked if she could “have it when you’re done?” his response was malicious, seemingly abusive, for the sake of it.
“’You’re not getting anything,’ he said. ‘You understand? Nothing. You’re getting nothing.’ Did he mean about the car, something else, bigger? I didn’t know. His voice hurt—sharp, in my chest,” she writes.
By the end of the extract, one thing is clear. Brennan-Jobs longed for her father’s acceptance but he didn’t pull through, even on his death bed.