F Cancer

Posted On: 10.06.11

{Warning: This is raw. Real. Unpolished. Unpretty. I’m not sure I will publish it, but I am sure going to write it.}

You should know that I detest profanity. I do. I don’t swear around my kids, or even once they’ve gone to bed. I guess I think there are so many other words, wonderful words, out there to use to describe how I am feeling. I guess I think swear words are kind of boring and unoriginal. Quite simply, I’m not a fan.

But. Today, I feel a bit differently. Today, I feel like there are exceptions to even my own steadfast rules.

Fuck cancer.

There, I did it.

Goodness, I am sad. I am sad about a man I didn’t know. A man I don’t even know much about. His name was Steve.

Goodness, I am sad. I am sad about a man I did know. A man I loved. His name was Strachan. Dad.

These men had nothing in common. Steve was a digital visionary. He changed the world as we know it. He created beautiful objects of technology that my two-year-old can use. Strachan was a philosophical visionary. He changed my world as I know it. He brewed up brilliant ideas that I will tell my kids about one day once I understand them a little better.


These men had everything in common. They were thoughtful. They had ideas. They were family men. They were private. They worked hard and dreamed big. And they were young. Too young.

Steve was 56.

Strachan, Dad, was 66.

Too fucking young.

(I did it again.)

Both of these men had so many more years and ideas in them. Both of them had things left to say, and do, and realize. Both of them had wives and families, wives and families who loved them and needed them.

Yesterday. October 5th. It was a hard day for me. Because it was the day after my birthday which is also the anniversary of the day Dad was diagnosed with cancer. That was a terrible day that cruelly cracked my life into Before and After. It was a day I think about often, rolling it over in my mind, wishing I could rearrange it, eliminate it altogether.

But I can’t.

Yesterday, consciously and unconsciously, I ran away from the day. I knew there was a layer of sadness there, silky and slippery, but I said no. I refused to write about it, I refused to breathe it. Instead, I wrote about my darling daughter and her penchant for pink. I avoided.

And the day rolled on. Into night. And I thought I’d made it, but no. Then I heard about Steve. About how he was gone, too. About how another big life had ended. How another idea man was taken from us. How another family lost a father.

And I was sad. Of course I was sad. On the anniversary of the day my own Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, a major man, a good man, died of cancer.

This was too much to ignore.

And yet I tried to. I wrote a post about a bag. A beautiful red bag. And about a good man, a wonderful guy who loves me, who is very much here. It was a silly post with some more serious undertones, but it was again an avoidance, I think.

So. Here I am. In my sweat-stained gym clothes. Hunched over a table at Starbucks, pounding away on, yes, on my sleek little Mac. Sun streams in and I squint. I think and I remember and I revere. I feel lost and empowered and the sudden and stabbing urge to do something good with my life. To wake up. To the life I have now. The very good and complicated and rich life. The life that often exhausts me and confuses me. The life that it is a profound and precarious privilege to have.

Because things change. Diagnoses are made. Good people, and great people, die young.

So, yes, I am sad. About a man I didn’t know. About a man I did know.

And I’m angry, too. Angry that things work the way they do sometimes.

Sad enough and angry enough to use that good old F-word. I feel okay about this. I even feel okay about the fact that my little girls might read this post one day. In fact, I hope they do. Because this? This is real. This is life. Also, I feel okay because Dad did this. He never really cursed either, but every now and then, quite rarely actually, he would let one fly. When he really felt something, when he really meant it. And even then, even when I was little, I think I respected this, that there are times to break the rules, to say things we otherwise wouldn’t.

I think if Dad were still around, he’d utter these two words too.

Fuck cancer.

{Yup, I’m going to publish this. Forgive me for the likely typos and the unmistakable profanity. Soon, I will return to my regularly scheduled program of editing and being polite.}


How did the news of Steve Jobs’ death affect you if it did? Did it make you think of people you’ve lost in your own life? About the unfairness of it all? Do you think it’s okay to embrace profanity in certain situations? Please leave a comment to let me know you read this. Even if all you write is “F Cancer,” it would mean something to me.

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23 Comments for: "F Cancer"
  1. Yes. Fuck it.

    I’ve relaunched my blog (formerly Musings de Mommy and now Universal Grit). It’s this life–this crap and shit and fucking cancer juxtaposed against coursing brilliant sunshine and hopes and dreams–that links us all together. It’s universal. Your raw, powerful boiling emotional is beautiful to read.

    I am, as I always am when you write about your father, sad that you lost him when he was so young. When you were so young.

    Big hugs to you and brava for writing what was in your heart, your lungs, your soul.


  2. Stacy

    Well said, Aidan. I think it is cathartic to put it all out there sometimes. I hope it was for you. Thinking of you and your dad!

  3. AG

    F Cancer. And F other diseases that debilitate our parents eventually taking them from us well before it should be time. Thank you for your honest post…it really hits home with me right now.

  4. I’m so glad you wrote this.

    Thinking of you, my friend. xo

  5. Thank you for writing this. I mean it. From every pore of my being. I understand this sadness. Yesterday I cooked a meal for a friend who is facing a grim prognosis after her brain tumor diagnosis. She is young and has two children under age 8. In the afternoon, I heard about Mr. Jobs passing. And at night, I talked with my Mom about my Dad’s passing. It’s everywhere. And it sucks. It so fucking sucks.


  6. Aidan,
    I am glad that you wrote this , I think we are all mourning today. I know we are all mad at cancer robbing so many great lives. Steve Jobs passing fuels my desire to live every day and dream every day. I am sad about your dad, he had so much more to do in this life. Xo.

  7. As are others here, I am so glad that you wrote and published this. It is important both for you and for the rest of us who have similar feelings but haven’t really been able to articulate them.

    Love to you yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

  8. Cris

    Yes, fuck it.

    I’ve been hanging, waiting for the headline,for years, just as I did for Pavarotti, for Patrick Swayze, rooting for them, hoping (silly?) that their money and their fame could get them the medical magical solution that could keep no-money no-fame families from being torn apart, one day, too late for so many. And then they fall, just like your dad, and mine, and other people in my family, and family of friends, and others I read about, and so many I just know as a statistic (families, there, torn apart). None of this is fair, and 4-letter words are the one thing that comes to mind 🙁

  9. Laura

    F all the terrible things that take away precious lives.
    sending you lots of love today.

  10. Gina

    Thank you for sharing these words with us. I, too, am feeling sad about Steve Jobs even though I only knew him as an icon, not a person. It seems like he certainly made his mark as both.

    Your dad sounds like a pretty special guy, too. I join you in saying F-you to cancer. F cancer for taking the lives of people we love. I am sorry for the hurt you feel today and everyday that you miss your dad.

  11. no need to apologize, it is how you feel… cancer ravages through people – to the point that a 56 yr. old man looked decades older… my aunt last year spent about 7 weeks from diagnosis to her death… cancer filled her body & wracked her with pain… for the life of me i cannot believe that there isn’t some kind of cure – the cynic believes there is a conspiracy fed by profit… but i do not want to believe that… i need to not believe that… but until so many stop dying – i cannot promise i won’t…

  12. Pingback: F Cancer « Feeds « MOMMY BLOGS NETWORK- Mommy Blog Aggregator

  13. Angela

    I read this post and felt every word. I agree with 110% fuck, fuck, fuck cancer, it’s something I have said since my dad was diagnosed and taken from us. I too remember the day on the 6th April when our lives changed! Right now the 9th October is rolling towards me like a hurricane, earthquake all rolled into one and I want to run, but know that I will be caught in it and it will totally cripple me.

    My dad was 64, your dad 66 and Steve Jobs 56!

    I just stood still when I heard the news last night, and thought about his family and how they were feeling and I hated so much that another family had to feel that pain.

    So yes, you had to post this and your choice of words speak volume to all of us who lost pieces of our heart to this awful disease.

  14. Laura

    I’m really glad you published this. Thank you.

    (And, if you’d like to cross-stitch, you’re not alone:

  15. If ever there was a place to F bomb, this is it. I had admired Steve Jobs and his creative vision, his ability to believe in that vision, but I was surprised how quickly the lump rose up in my throat when I heard the news on NPR driving home. What a loss. What a life. How lucky we are. Let’s bloom. Let’s do all we can to be our greatest selves. Thank you for writing about it.

  16. Jan

    Thank You for writing this…..You wrote what I feel most of the time since being diagnosed with Cancer.

  17. Those two little words are powerful. I know I said them myself a few times when I was diagnosed (it will be 9 years on Oct 30). I was lucky, caught it early, but to hear those words- you have cancer- at 22 was unimaginably scary. So yes, fuck cancer.

    And even though it wasn’t cancer, I lost my dad at 48. Another life cut far too short. Thinking of you and wishing you strength and peace today.

  18. Wow. This is SO powerful and so beautifully written from the heart. I had a sister-in-law taken from breast cancer at age 42. I’d only known her two years and felt I’d be cheated from a relationship with a strong, courageous, wonderful woman who’s fingerprints are all over community projects around the Phoenix area. Yes, another “good one” taken far too soon.

    Thank you for this. I felt the same way about Steve Jobs. True sadness fro a man I didn’t know.

  19. KLinSC

    Thank you for writing what I am not brave enough to say but am thinking during every test, every biopsy, every procedure…

  20. This is so powerful it gave me chills. I don’t know if I could put it any better than you did.

    But yes. Fuck cancer.

  21. The diseases that take people too soon. They suck. All of them.

  22. k

    i almost never read your blog. i was doing a word search in gmail for blogs and refound you. and then saw this. how weird. i lost my own beautiful mother to pancreatic cancer in december last year. she was 57. her father, my grandfather died of pc 15 years ago when he was 60. i just got an email from an old friend that her father had died of pc last night, she had gone home to california to be with him. this weekend is the 1yr anniversary of my wedding. i can’t help an ongoing compare and contrast of this year v. last year. your blog about your dad and saying “before and after” rang so true with me. i so hope that apple will fund research for this terrible disease. i totes agree. FUCK cancer.

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