Spent last night with a very alive version of a two-years-dead friend.
My dreamscape—a European oddity store—was unfamiliar, but Hoffman’s hug-and-kiss greeting was exactly the opposite.
I awake with his voice in my ears and the sense of his fingers still imprinted on my arm. And in the rawness of early morning, when reality isn’t quite neatly sorted, I am unaware that Hoffman is dead.
Which makes the slow, sleepy realization that he is all the more wrenching.
The denial isn’t unique to my dreams. It’s happened on my recent visits to downtown L.A., where a hundred Hoffman memories still hover in places like the Golden Gopher, MOCA, The Standard, Chinatown and Jumbo’s Clown Room.
On those L.A. trips, I’ve wondered if my grief is complicated by the fact that Hoffman was the man I kissed at the airport before flying to NYC for the business trip on which I met my future husband. He was also the man I drunk-dialed as a new widow and invited to Brazil for Christmas. The one I wondered about when I was gutted from grief, indulging in that game of irrational thinking that usually begins with ‘what if…?’
As in, ‘What if I’d chosen Hoffman instead of Alberto? Stayed in L.A.? Would I have outmaneuvered this cloud of grief?’
I got my answer two years later when 42-year-old Hoffman died. Also of a sudden heart attack.
(Two forks: same outcome.)
In my memoir, I wrote briefly about our decade of history—with admittedly less candor than in this post—but Hoffman remains a loss that I still can’t wrap my fucking head around. And I’m pretty sure why: I didn’t attend his April 2012 funeral, a paddle-out in Malibu where pals on surfboards spread his ashes and purple-orchid leis in the water.
Two weeks before his service, I’d flown to L.A. for my aunt’s funeral and didn’t think I could swing the additional travel expense or time off. I’m a girl with a very short list of regrets, but not going to Tim Hoffman’s fucking funeral is in my Top Five. Mourning ceremonies are a vital part of my grieving process, and without that experience, his loss is a sting that I can push away. One I can bury, deny even. Except on mornings like this.
And this morning, my only close contacts who knew Hoffman like I did are an ex-BF who still ain’t keen on my connection to his buddy and a former bestie who’s presently off the grid.
I can call neither of these people and so I come to the page, screen, keyboard for catharsis. My Tumblr was born and bred on posts like this one, but it has grown into a thing that’s happier, shinier, less messy. Good for it. I’m very happy for my self-actualized Tumblr. This morning, however, I’m just fucking relieved that the cursor still lets me curse and isn’t letting me get away with surface-skimming.