I was enjoying some cheese-less pizza with some wonderful friends last night when one of them broke the news that according to Twitter, Whitney Houston had died.
My first response was, "Is this like that Jon Bon Jovi thing? Because I'm not ok with Twitter if they're going to do that again. Bon Jovi me once, shame on you. Bon Jovi me twice, shame on me!"
Nope. It was quickly confirmed by CNN.
I'll admit, my second response was extremely judgmental, something I will blame on growing up in a small town that I successfully escaped from and have 'earned' the right to be judgmental. "Damn that cocaine! It takes all the good ones! And crack is whack!"
I immediately slapped my hand over my mouth! Wow. Utterly disrespectful, no matter how true it might be.
I have been reflecting on her passing most of last night and throughout today while reading Facebook comments, ice skating (which might be the reason I nearly fell more than once), and even during church. We had a special service annointing the sick today and Father Todd remarked on our cultural response to illness and death. He urged us to remember that in all the blessings we receive, life is the most valuable of these and we should respect it and live it to the fullest each day. He also reminded us that death is a part of life and that it should not be neglected nor shunned; it must be respected as much as life itself.
I cannot really put into words how I feel about Whitney's passing. I, along with so many girls/women who lived through the 90's, recorded her version of "I Will Always Love You" onto a tape cassette and sang to it over and over again. And this is coming from a Dolly Parton fan! In a world of questionably famous people, she was a true talent! And her light burned out too quickly.
I've read a lot of commentaries about her death today, most of which were very negative, but my favorite comes from Bill Flanagan on "Sunday Morning". The link is here, but the best quote is as follows:
"Whitney Houston was a public figure her whole adult life. She battled her demons in the public eye. Today, everyone will praise her. Tonight at the Grammys, she will be paid tribute. In the next few days she will be eulogized. That's as it should be, she deserves it.
But wouldn't it be great if all of us could then leave it at that? Let's ignore the gossip press and scandal media that will try to exploit her memory now that she can't defend herself. Whitney Houston touched millions of us, but she does not belong to us. She was someone's daughter. She was someone's mother. Her memory, like her love, belongs to them. The rest of us will always have her music. When the eulogies have ended, let's let Whitney Houston rest in peace."
She was amazing and will never be forgotten and sang one of the most memorable Super Bowl National Anthems. May you find the peace you so desperately sought.