There's not a single song by Whitney Houston on my iPod, not even I Will Always Love You, which really is an amazing song (but I like Dolly's version better). She was so iconic she could easily have gone by her first name only, like Cher or Madonna or Fergie. Or, um, Dolly, for that matter.
Her vocal style didn't mesh with my listening taste, so I wasn't a fan. But I'm shocked to learn of her death.
Just 48 years old. On the comeback trail. Her demons supposedly behind her. So much accomplished already, and with so much promise.
An autopsy is scheduled. We'll learn the cause of death in time. In the meantime, I'm trying not to think 'it must have been drugs,' but that's what we think when someone like Whitney (or Michael or Heath or Amy) dies suddenly and too soon.
The abuse of drugs, legal or illegal, takes your life away, even when you're still breathing. Ninety percent of the inmates at the prison where I volunteer are there for drug crimes. I hear it every week: the heartache of being a 'bad' mom, the pain of losing everything, the shame, the guilt, the remorse.
Some of them get it. Some of them quit, for good. They go to 12-step meetings, raise their kids, get jobs. They help others and turn their backs on their varied pasts.
Some of them don't. Or they quit for a while, but there's something in their lives or their souls that sends them back to "the life." They show up in prison again. And sometimes again.
They're the lucky ones. And they'd be the first to tell you so.