Of all the blogs I have written so far, this will be my most personal. I did not plan to write this blog today, but felt the strong need to do so.
Over the weekend, singer Whitney Houston died. Reports are not fully in, but it seems she died from combining prescription medication with alcohol. The result was a lethal combination.
Whitney was my age. She died at the age of 48. I have always been a huge fan of her music. As a matter of fact, my very first album was hers. I listened to her music all through college. Whitney was an amazing talent. Her voice clear, stong and beautiful.
Whitney Houston was a recovering drug addict. The death of someone so talented, coming as a result of addiction, does not sit will with many people. Somehow her death is minimized because people feel she may have contributed. I find this disturbing.
Years ago, I loss one of the most important people in my life to alcohol and drugs. Sadly, it was the same combination of prescription drugs and alcohol that ended her life. The person who died was my beloved niece. She was a mere 19 years old. Unlike Whitney, she was not addicted to drugs, but she did make a fatal mistake taking a friend’s prescription medication, while drinking alcohol.
When I loss my mother years ago it was very difficult, but losing my niece was much worse. She was a child. Losing a child, someone who is supposed to outlive you, is brutal. Losing my niece because she made a terrible mistake…well, indescribable.
At the time of my niece’s death, I was amazed how insensitive people were. One person in particular, mentioned niece must have been stupid, because only someone stupid would combine drugs. The sting from that comment still hurts. Stupid was not my niece.
Losing her was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. It does not matter how she died, only that I will never have the joy of hugging her again.
Judging Whitney for how she died is missing the point. Whether she contributed to her death or not does not lessen her family’s grieving. In some ways, they will grieve more than someone dying of natural causes. The family will carry the guilt of wishing they could have done more to save her.
Compassion. This is what is needed at a time of death, not judgements. The loss of a life should be mourned, under all circumstances.
My beautiful niece’s life was loss due to a lethal combination. Tell me you are sorry for my loss, but do not tell me she contributed to her death.
She is gone. How she died, is not nearly as important as my love for her.