Whitney Houston

Photo credit: R.I.P. Whitney Houston facebook page.

She was every one’s sister, mother, child. Even those of us who never met her felt like she was OUR family member. We all saw her incredulous rise. We held our breath when she fell. We turned away from the photos that documented what her fame and drug use did to OUR Whitney.

We were thrilled when she sang, goose bumps crawling up and down the neck; delighted when she acted, we could not get enough. Tony Bennett said she was “the best singer he had ever heard”. Joan Collins said she was “a superb actress”. We agree with them both. She inspired many to reach their own potentials.

We longed to see her restored to her family, her daughter. We hoped when it came her time to go that she would die at home, surrounded by those who love her, at age 98. Instead she was 48 and alone.

Tributes are pouring in from around the world. Threads are going on for hundreds, I dare say it will be multiplied thousands as more a wake to the news. We watched her, not from a salivating voyeurism but because we cared, we really wanted to see her “come back”, to outlive her talent.

Her early foundation was one of faith. She began singing the gospel in church. Her mother, gospel singer Sissy Houston was often by her side. There are those who blame her faith for staying with a husband who physically and psychologically abused her. Was the faith of her childhood that operational in her life? Do we really know why she stayed? Did her faith entrap her or give her courage to leave? 

She is claimed as "a deep part of the heart of Newark", New Jersey.  She had many stunning firsts. Among them she had 7 consecutive Number 1 hits. She was the first to achieve that. She reached almost unimaginable heights for one person, and she made a way for others to follow her. She was generous, giving hundreds of thousands to fine charities or buying food filled picnic baskets for the band and crew. She gave of herself, when the crowd was gone she often sang, danced and chatted with the band.

Sickening posts like “one less crack head to worry about” to the, “I shed tears for you, I hope you are flying with the angels” demonstrate the polarized opinions held about her. The point is our opinions do not matter. She is gone. She slipped away from us on the threshhold of celebrating the very industry that offers a free ride to death for many of its best. Did her fame ask too much from her? Did we?

We are not called upon to judge her or use her life as an example of the evils of whatever it is we judge to be evil. As the Archbishop of Canterbury did for Princess Diana let us commit her to God’s mercy, pray for her heart broken friends and family and thank her for sharing her talent with us all.

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