The untimely passing of Whitney Houston is one of those rare news stories that’s bound to give just about everyone pause.
Pop music stars don’t always cross generational boundaries, but Whitney Houston did.
Her first big hit was in 1985, her last just three years ago.
If there was a man or woman alive who didn’t already admire her incredible voice and delivery, they were surely reached by her performance of the National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl.
As Michael Brodeur of the Globe wrote over the weekend, Houston’s rendition found “perfect balance….No histrionic experimentation, no self-indulgent runs, no wardrobe malfunctions or backing tracks — just Whitney, singing a song we all know by heart and, in doing so, reminding us why it lives there in the first place.”
Add to her talent and artistic taste her physical beauty, wealth, acclaim, solid family background, generous philanthropy, and trailblazing historical status, and we are all left to contemplate a disturbing question – how could someone who had it all let it all be taken away by substance abuse?
This is, sadly, a question that gets asked every day across the country as we suffer through the carnage of drug addiction and abuse.
Sometimes it seems as if it’s such a common tragedy that we’ve become almost used to it, passive about it, less likely to see the battle against it as a war requiring resources and conviction.
Illegal use of prescription drugs is on the rise – so, not coincidentally, are drug-related deaths.
Dealing with that costs money we don’t seem eager to spend.
But the death of Whitney Houston should tell anyone who takes note of it that no one is outside the reach of drug abuse.
Not talented, well-educated kids from good families, not super-rich singing stars, no one.
It just took someone you probably admired, and that should give you pause.