Usually I take the news of the comings and goings, births and deaths of the famous without much of a reaction. But this evening, when I learned of Whitney Houston's death today at the age of 48, tears caught me by surprise.
The news wasn't really a shock. Although I thought, and hoped, she'd pull through, get help, rise again--even though her destructive lifestyle had claimed more years, it seemed, than had her healthy, vibrant youth.
Certainly we've watched her excruciating descent on the covers of the merciless tabloids, TV news magazines and even the Oprah show. It was difficult and frustrating to witness. I wanted, as I'm sure did many of you, to grab and shake her and say, "Please, stop! You are killing yourself!"
While it's not our place to understand why some stay on earth longer and some leave sooner, it certainly seems like a huge waste of natural beauty and raw talent.
Who didn't love her in the 80's, after all? Suddenly she was on the music scene with that incredible voice and a face to match. In interviews, as her star rose, she was soft-spoken, modest and charming and when she starred in a movie or two, her acting chops were a little stiff but it was okay because you knew she had that voice in the bank. I loved her in "Waiting to Exhale" and "The Bodyguard."
Though many will, I don't blame that creep Bobby Brown for her demise. We make our own choices in this life. I do believe he was a horrible influence but she always had the resources to get better--a strong family behind her as well as the motivation of a baby girl to raise. She got lost early in the game and and I feel so sorry for the state she was in during her last years. How sad, lonely and lost she must have been underneath the lethal euphoria that ultimately destroyed her.
Whether she was attempting to mask deep pain or was just a weak mess who fell in with a bad crowd, all I know is that a young girl is now without a mother, a mother has lost a daughter and a beautiful voice, long in ruin, has been silenced.
With Valentine's Day approaching, most have someone -- a spouse, sweetheart, parent, child, friend -- that Whitney's magnificent anthem "I Will Always Love You" (written by Miss Dolly Parton) applies to. Let's sing, hum, play them that song this Tuesday...send them a link or leave them a phone message, letting Whitney's gorgeous voice tell them that we will always love them.