The first time I ever did a “fuck you, I love you” post it was how I signed off on a video after a friend seemed to die by suicide. It was unplanned wording that perfectly reflected how I was feeling. I used it again in a video after Robin William’s suicide (wow, two years ago for both). In each case, I was saying that I loved them, the person, but I was pissed at how they went out. The “fuck you” was to suicide.
I find myself thinking those same seemingly opposed thoughts, fuck you and I love you, in regards to my father. I wrote a post earlier today for RealMenFeel.org called Strong Enough to Be Sad (read it now if you want to be fully up to speed before proceeding. It’s short and I’ll wait.).
I often tell my coaching clients that they can love someone and still be angry, annoyed, bitter, resentful or frustrated with them. Unconditional love doesn’t mean you don’t also have other emotions, it means beneath all the other emotions, even the so-called ‘negative’ ones, there is love. Unconditional love for yourself means loving you even when you can’t stand you.
Today I brought my dad to see his oncologist for an appointment that we both knew meant cancer was back. He’s already had surgery to remove cancer from his colon and kidneys. While sitting in the waiting room today, he noticed writing on my wrist. He said, “I know I’ve asked before, but what does that say?”
On my left wrist is my first tattoo, which I got six years ago this month. Getting it was a pretty big deal. The incidents that inspired it had me interviewed on CNN and ABC’s Nightline. My dad knew all of this because he lived through it all too.
He was now asking me again what it says on my wrist. No big deal I thought. “It says GRATEFUL,” I told him. His response was a new one. He said, “Jesus Christ, what a faker!’ and stared at me with a slight smirk like he was waiting for me to laugh or react, I’m not really sure.
I wanted to reply with a hearty, “I hope you die alone on the streets,” and walk out. Instead I turned away, took a slow deep breath, reminded myself that in his dementia-ravaged and scared mind, that was the best he could do for a nervous joke to pass the time. I muttered, “Fuck you, I love you.”
During the appointment we discovered he has multiple growing cancers in his lungs, liver and stomach. Fuck you, I love you.