in a nod to last night’s spectacular ’round the commonwealth lighting of fire-breathing beacons to salute the radiant queen of england, my daughter is preparing her own fire-themed evening. the tradition here, at the start of summer and the end of yet another school year, is quite pagan: a roaring bonfire where all of the …
2.12.12 as i type todays date, i’m taken by the synco-pattern of these numbers, all strung out, a one and a two, a one and a two…which brings to mind, well, lawrence welk, but also dancing, music and today, the shrouded grammy day which will now forever be known as the year that whitney houston died.
i’m first to admit that i was really sad when, after an evening at the movies with my gals (btw: “the vow”, seen from the second row in an inexplicably packed theatre, will give you a very stiff neck and a bit of malaise…didn’t quite hit the mark), followed by a festive dinner at the lucky monk, i heard the news.
after being talked into ordering a grilled cheese hamburger by our very chatty, former thespian and now full fledged foodie waiter (really, i was only after the deep fried pickles, but bring on the carbs!), our conversation bridged subjects ranging from channing tatum’s good looks, the brilliance of amanda bynes in “what a girl wants”, and happy reminiscences of last years trip to nashville and our shared love of, yes, deep fried pickles enjoyed amid the honky tonk country twang of music city.
out of the blue, corey interrupted our conversation by reading aloud from a text that had pinged itself into our late evening dinner.
“dad said that whitney houston died.”
“what?” was my shocked reply…how could this be? plus, i never knew he was a fan.
“yes, she died an hour ago.” added hallie, “some girls in the bathroom were just talking all about it.”
i don’t know really what was more surprising: the news, or the unexpected litany of messengers who carried it to us. the mood definitely shifted, as i pondered a bit as the gals chatted away.
the pickles arrived, and i found them to be incredibly soothing as i wrestled with my feelings.
48. a mom. a deeply talented woman. a star. but…also, a woman who had boarded a train headed for a big derailment. so really, was i surprised? wasn’t the writing on the wall? didn’t we all see this coming?
well, maybe. but maybe, too, for the pollyannas like me out there, we cling to that eternal torch. the light, bright, hope that somehow, the sufferers, the addicted, the weak, can just hold on for that one sunny “me” moment that will kick start the strength that’s gotta be buried somewhere in a darkened soul’s vault, profound and resilient and determined enough to grab a choke-hold on the demon and send it to the trash where it belongs.
so i guess that’s the saddest part. this communal outcry of grief all across the flickering social media boards carries, for the most part, the same message. we hoped that she’d overcome it, we’d felt the power of that voice, & that dazzling smile belting out a generation’s iconic anthems.
and on top of that, benighted by clive davis, whitney houston was music royalty, carrying that dionne warwick, cissy houston & aretha franklin royal soul sister torch into the millenium. how could she not persevere?
we were all rooting for her: rise above, whitney, rise above.
sure, there were demons, and i’m happy to throw a punch to bobby brown, just as i eagerly threw a virtual karate chop to that ridiculous, sketchy, ego-maniac dodi al-fayed who played a partial hand in the death of that other earthly princess. but we all know, diana didn’t need to get into that mercedes. and sadly, we all know that whitney didn’t have to keep riding on the spiral down.
the tragedy, as i see it, is as simple as this: when mere love isn’t enough, where is the hope?