Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Final Thoughts

I will not profess to have been a die hard Whitney Houston fan. That would not be the truth. I have never belonged to any fan clubs, nor do I have any tattoos bearing her likeness or any of her song lyrics. In fact, I do not even own any of her albums. So why am I writing a two part blog entry about her death? Because the range of emotions I have felt in the three days since then are interesting to me, and I want to think about why that is.

As mentioned in the previous post, Shock, Not-So-Shocked, and Sadness would be the three initial thoughts I'd have, but soon, I would experience three more: Empathy, Frustration, and Intense Anger.

Empathy came from watching interviews with Whitney when she talked about panic attacks and anxiety; something she battled for many years. When I heard her talk about suffering with those feelings, I felt a sincere connection to her. Not as a pop diva, but as a woman...a woman the same age as me, who knows what that "finger in the socket" feeling is like. When I watched her talk about that, I expected the two of us could have had a good conversation about it.

As I listened to her talk about her battles with drugs and alcohol, I started feeling Frustration. The part of me that wants to rescue kicked in. The "fixer" took over. I watched her talk with Diane Sawyer just ten years ago, when there still seemed to be some glimmer of hope that she might be able to rehabilitate and shake the addiction that was clearly taking control of her life. Obviously, she was never able to do that. This brings me to Intense Anger.

Last night while browsing Facebook (love it / hate it) I came across a post by someone I don't associate with much. She had gone on a rant, talking about how Whitney Houston had "stolen" the song "I Will Always Love You" from Dolly Parton, then going on to say she wasn't the least bit sad she was dead. She said she didn't feel a bit sorry for her; no more than she would "any other worthless crack head in prison". I won't even address the comment about the song because it's so ignorant, but the comments about the addiction made me feel very angry. I resisted the urge to comment on the post, but a friend of mine who has a son that struggles with drugs and alcohol spoke up. I doubt anyone read her comment but me. I had to wonder if this girl would have felt a little more compassion, had Whitney Houston died of heart disease or diabetes. People seem to understand those are diseases. And if those diseases are left untreated, and if you don't exercise, eat right, and take your medication, they will kill you. But most people don't view drug and alcohol addiction as a disease. A disease that if left untreated, will also kill you. People simply want to view it as a weakness in character, not a disease.

So that's pretty much how Whitney Houston's death sparked a big range of emotions and thoughts in me the past three days. Like her or not, fan or not, you have to respect the talent she possessed. I am sad that voice is now gone, but glad her music will live on for generations to come.

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