I’ve spent ten minutes trying to come up with a blog title. In the end, all I can manage is his name.
In the small hours of 12 March, Colette Simon posted on Facebook that Cliff had been killed in a kite-boarding accident Tuesday lunchtime. I was on Twitter at the time, and knocked sideways. I’m writing this through tears of incredible grief and loss, yet know I’m one of many to mourn him.
Cliff and I knew each other for over eight years. It started on Twitter during a live podcast of his episode of The Americans. His character pretended to be drunk and sang. Cliff mentioned that he’d been asked to record an album after winning Mr South Africa but had refused because he “sang like shit.” I commented that singing like shit had worked for David Hasselhoff. Cliff friended me and so began a friendship of sorts that will always be incredibly precious to me.
We met a few years later, at Chevron 8.0. His Sunday meet-and-greet was cancelled, so I invited him for a drink, never imagining he’d agree. We spent 40 minutes talking about everything and nothing. My writing was mentioned and he was so supportive. So encouraging. He is the reason I’m published and I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to tell him that.
He was also unbelievably supportive after H’s stroke. He’d pop into my DMs and ask after him. When we had a Zoom call last month, “How’s your man doing?” was the first thing he asked me. “Tell him I was asking after him,” he requested, which of course I did.
I have lost a limb. A piece of my heart. I cannot imagine going on without him, yet I must. We were due another Zoom next Saturday, and my heart aches at everything I was going to tell him but now can’t. All those stupid, rude jokes. The silly memes we’d bat between us. That smile, that laugh, those tight hugs.
I love you, Cliff, and I will miss you forever.