Philip Seymour Hoffman Pendulum

Why are you taking the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman so personally?

The answer is I'm not really certain. Over the years, there have been many tragic deaths of public figures around my age (Philip was just under 8 months my senior) and I don't do heroin.

And to be fair, the idea of me taking the death of a total stranger personally, of absorbing his passing into my own little narrative is both disrespectful to him and his son and two daughters, and Mimi for that matter, and frankly a little rude.

But here I am doing it any way.

I keep swinging back and forth, back and forth. On the one end I am profoundly sad at the loss of such a wonderful talent and a loss (almost a hole in reality) of the future performances he would have most certainly given the world. When the pendulum reaches the other side I feel this deep panic for my own life and a deep need I can't quite identify.

A need to appreciate?

A need to be more diligent?

A need to work harder?

A need to be a better person?

A need to reset my priorities?

A need to do more for others?

A need to... what? What is it?

The answer seems absurdly simple. But it keeps showing up in this obsessive thought circle.

I need to avoid wasting the time I've been given. Time is more precious than any physical wealth in this world. What's the Hobbit riddle?

This thing all things devours:

Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;

Gnaws iron, bites steel;

Grinds hard stones to meal;

Slays king, ruins towns,

And beats high mountain down.

It's time. Or Time. Or TIME! (booming drums)

If we're lucky we have about 30,000 days. I've burned up about 16,746. I haven't wasted all of those days. I've had some pretty spectacular days in there. Lots. But I've wasted some... maybe many.

Maybe today I start working on minimizing those wastes. The more I think about it, the more I begin to realize, to spot the waste, both mental and physical. Mental even more than physical.

For example, this weekend I had an ongoing negative conversation with a person from work. This person made a comment late last week and that comment stuck with me and I felt I had to state my case on the subject, to convince that person to my way of thinking. I don't know how long this conversation went on, but I'd say it ate up several hours of my weekend.

And it was all in my head.

What a horrible waste of time.

I don't know how Mimi and Philip's children are going to get through this. I have no capacity to comfort someone suffering that much pain.

But I can hope for them. That at least. At the very least.

And I can work harder at recognizing and removing the waste in my life.

Thanks for reading... of to... not sure what honestly.




  1. I am deeply saddened as well. I cry for the children.

  2. "And I can work harder at recognizing and removing the waste in my life."
    Amen to that, as one who has wasted too much in the past.

  3. Me too Beck. They are so young. I was five when my mom passed and I have no memory of her. I wonder what they'll remember of dad.

  4. Removing the waste-- I've thought a lot about that lately too. And I've thought a lot about how little it seems our society as a whole pays attention to mental health issues, including drug addiction. Big sigh. That's a whole other issue.
    RIP P.S.H.

  5. Big sigh here too. A whole other issue indeed Joanna. Thank you for stopping by. :)

  6. Anonymous3/7/14 11:11

    My only worked for him and quit there was a big reason for that, a big waste of a talented person..the partner and 3 children will have no partner and daddy, sad and more sad..When can this country recongnize that drug addiction is a real medical condition..the untimely deaths of human beings is a big big waste of human life, precious as it is!!!!!!!!!!! RIP P.S.H.

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