In processing the unfolding events of Whitney Houston's death, I've found myself increasingly irritated and angry. I do realize that the following thoughts might be unpopular, but as I travel my grief-journey, I try to be candid in my emotions, no matter how unpopular, raw and even ugly they may be.
Anyone who is connected to the internet, reading news, tabloids, on Facebook, whatever... has seen, viewed and / or heard about Ms. Houston's passing, her life, her career, her family, her achievements, her downfall, her marriage, who gets the blame for her addictions and a whole bunch of other details that, frankly, I find should be none of anyone's business. And yet, there it is, strung out (excuse the unfortunate descriptor) for all to see. This is disturbing on so many levels.
First... Oh Goodness... her daughter! Her Family! They all, of course, knew of the problem, but, having personally been in their shoes, I know there is NOTHING that can be done. If the addict doesn't want help, there is no helping the addict. And parading around the hot mess that was Ms. Houston's life in the days, weeks, months, years prior to her death... Putting it out there... "WHY did no one help her?" How on earth can anyone with a soul put this on that woman's teenaged daughter? This child grew up with this mess, and, through no fault of her own, is, I'm afraid... in it way too deep to change anything at this point. I'm not suggesting that she is an addict herself, I have no way of knowing that, but I am saying with 100% certainty that she has lived through hell. Being the family member of an addict brings all of its own issues to the forefront...codependence, enabling, depression, helplessness, hopelessness and an unbearable fatigue. I pray that God guides that girl through the coming months and years to be an overcomer, she is going to need Divine help, support from family, friends and guidance to make positive life choices that were not modeled for her.
Next... UGH... WHY on earth is Ms. Houston's negative, self-destructive (and destructive to society) behavior being glorified? New Jersey - Governor Christie - You're going to have flags lowered to half staff to commemorate the scourge of our day? For the love of all that is decent... WHY? Ms. Houston was an amazing singer. Could it be argued with any contribution she had to society was overshadowed by extremely negative lifestyle choices? I'm really not one of the folks who thinks that all celebrities have an obligation to be role models. Many celebrities are, themselves, victims, if you will, of circumstance. Ms. Houston had an amazing voice. NBA players are gifted with the talent of being exceptional athletes, etc. Their career choice (or what they fell into, whatever the case may be) does not necessarily dictate that they become positive role models for children everywhere. Ideally, sure, those in "elevated" positions should exhibit positive behavior, but I don't think that is realistic...they're human. That said... in all of the broken humanness, why are we elevating and glorifying destructive behavior? She got attention through her entire adult life, first for her songbird voice, then for her rocky marriage, then for the ugly divorce, then for her messy drug abuse and rehab stints.... Why are "we" (societal "we") continuing to pile on the attention to the negative behavior?
Last...There are thousands upon thousands of families who are grieving the loss of a loved one because of that loved one's irresponsible choices. Each high profile drug death sends me into a tailspin. I can't help but think of the wasted life... Not the life they've lived... but the waste of life that could have been lived. My sister, My friend's daughter, Sarah, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston... they all SHOULD HAVE HAD YEARS - DECADES of life ahead of them... You see, their lives were valuable. ALL life has value. The waste is what was yet to be but will never be. We have GOT to stop glorifying the irresponsibility of negative choices. I'm not talking conservative vs liberal lifestyle choices - I am talking about self-destruction, societal destruction... behavior that is harmful, hurtful and debilitating to family, friends, loved ones and society in general. There are real people left behind in the wake of the tragedy... real people who are left to pick up the pieces and go on with life without their loved ones... finding a path for themselves along unfamiliar territory. Plodding a journey with pieces missing, people missing, people who are supposed to be there to be mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins. Sometimes the journey is painful. More often than not, the journey is heart-wrenching and confusing. The journey just does not make sense. I can't comprehend this path. This isn't how it was supposed to be.
And the media continues to glorify the destruction...