This Child’s Mama

As a vocalist, and a obsessive music devourer, I cannot help but be saddened by the death of Whitney Houston. Even though I generally don’t cry and carry one about the death of someone I didn’t know personally, the death of a major icon is simply jarring. Especially an icon that means so much to something you love.

It’s been particularly unsettling to see all the images and videos of Whitney alive. Although who she’d become in more recent years is not the way many of us want to remember her, all the images speak to a simple fact: she was once here and now she isn’t. And so despite the various images of Whitney Houston that have flooded through the media and internets since her passing on Saturday, there is another image that I simply can’t get out of my mind.

That’s Bobbi Kristina, Whitney’s 18 year old daughter, being rushed to the hospital in the day or so after her mother’s death.

Let me say that I do not know the pain of losing a parent, especially losing a mother, although I know some of our writers and readers do. Two good friends both recently lost their mothers and their grief is palpable. But it is an unimaginable event to me.

But I do know that even the notion scares me at 31, so the terror of that feeling at 18…I do know what it feels like to be hopeless, to be shrouded in doubt and anxiety. I can only imagine what it means to lose your rock in the world, the person who makes you make sense.

We’ve watched, from the periphery, Bobbi Kristina grow up. We’ve seen the dysfunction of her parents’ relationship. We’ve seen both of her parents seemingly self-destruct in front of our eyes. But we don’t know her. We don’t know her pain.

But what we should know if that more than a pop idol, more than a sometimes media disaster, Whitney Houston was this child’s mama.

I hope the media can be sensitive to this fact as the story continues to unfold.