We spent Saturday in Detroit at my sister’s wedding shower and visiting my grandparents. After a fun but long and exhausting day, the three of us (we had Ben, our collie, along) piled into the car to head home. Once we were well along, I decided to read the news on my phone—to learn that the great diva Whitney Houston had passed away at the horribly young age of 48. A lot of people have said this was no surprise, but…Well, I was a little stunned and definitely sad. And only 48—what a shame.
The past few years have clearly been difficult for her, but it is my hope that we’ll remember Whitney Houston for what she was, not what she became, though she was clearly trying to correct things. But she had so much to overcome, and I’m not sure what her support system was like—we all need friends, great friends, even if we’ve only a few of them, but people who’ll speak the truth to us whether it ticks us off or not, especially if they see us dancing near a precipice. Did Whitney have this? I don’t know. This amazingly talented woman with gospel roots had somehow gotten in with the wrong crowd; perhaps they crowded out those, like Clive Davis, who truly loved and cared for her.
As someone on Twitter said, the first time you choose to try a drug may be the last time you have a choice in the matter; addiction is terribly difficult to overcome, even for the best of people. It breaks my heart to see another tremendous talent destroyed by addiction; even Houston herself said she was her own worst enemy. This poor woman; it’s truly heartbreaking.
Whitney Houston was a classically beautiful, sweet-seeming, and of course an extraordinarily talented woman, with one of the most perfect voices I’ve ever heard (and that’s a large number). Her elegance and ladylike demeanor along with her stunning voice were a great inspiration to me during her heyday and beyond, and watching her fall from grace left me with a twist in my heart every time she popped up in the news for something other than singing. No matter what you think of the songs she sang and their quality, there’s no denying the quality and wondrousness of her VOICE. It was perfect, perfect and vibrant and beyond lovely. But now that gift has been stilled, and so early, despite the hopes of many that Whitney Houston would find her way again.
For now, I keep her daughter in my prayers and hope that this troubled woman finds peace at last. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
Here’s one of her first hits—effervescent and fun. The attire may be humourous to us today and the lyrics might seem naive, but oh, that magnificently gorgeous voice!
Farewell, Whitney Houston.