A voice gone forever

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Whitney Houston in better times.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston actually left us some years ago. In a sense, her death Saturday was anti-climactic. Regardless of any toxicology results, I have no doubt: it was the drugs that took her from us. It had happened already.

It is rare to have someone sing and bring tears to your eyes, but that is what Ms. Houston did. I remember sitting in the theater when my wife and I went to see “The Bodyguard” years ago, and sensing the chills up and down my spine and the tear forming when she blew us all away with “I Will Always Love You.”

She had a gift from God. So why does someone throw away something like this, let her star fade, and die an ignominious death in a bathtub when she could still be arousing our finest emotions with that voice from another world?

There will never be another voice like Whitney Houston’s. There will never be another Whitney Houston. She was what she was. And for a brief, brief time she made us feel things we seldom felt before.

When are we going to realize what drugs are doing to the best of us and do something about it?

One thought on “A voice gone forever

  1. Forty years ago I was exposed to the question stated in your commentary viewing “Lady Sings the Blues”; the parallel tragic story of the life of Billy Holliday,, whose generation said there will never be another voice like hers. As I watched Holliday,, via Dianna Ross’s performance, devolve to the lowest and basest behavior to feel like she belonged, and was loved, my body clinched in response to a deep emotion.

    The question, of course, in all such instances, is “Why?” The emotion that knotted my body that evening 40 years ago was anger. It built within me as I asked these questions. Why do these people do such things to themselves? Why do they waste talent mere mortals are graced only to experience vicariously in passing?

    It took a number of years of cluttered questioning before my anger at such self-destructive behavior came into focus. The focus was not upon Billy Holliday, Hank Williams, Daryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Tiger Woods, or any of the multitudes of derailed careers and lives. The focus was upon me, and my failure to be what I could be, My failure to go “all in” on the talents God has given me.

    It was easier for me to get angry at the self-destructed and ignore my personal self-destructing each day I refused to put all my talents into the game.

    Perhaps this will help another put into perspective a similar feeling at the news of Ms. Houston’s death; a mode of death unworthy of her talent, but perhaps, sadly, worthy of her weak earthly character.

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