As a shameless person, I have very few spots that bring me to tears. Most of them involve deaths. I've never done well with grief, it always consumes me in a darkness that stains my whole existence. One of those deaths that will always be stuck to my soul is of Whitney Houston. I have a complicated structure of emotions attached to her death. The strongest joist in that structure was the death of my close family friend Franklin Clark the night before her funeral.
I died a little that Friday evening when I got the news from my mother. The following day I gathered around a television with friends, and watched Whitney’s homecoming with pain streaming from my eyes. It hurt in more ways than one because of the tragic way her life came to an end. Whitney Houston died because of the negligence of an entire group of people who were supposed to support her greatness. She was an angel, not just an angelic voice, but an angel. Her life was cut short every time she was forced to be who she wasn't. She died because she lived in a constant battle to be herself. That's more tragic than anything I can think of. That tragedy parallels with the death of Mr. Clark. He too was an angel, a man who spent all of his adult life taking care of his friends, family, and people he didn't even know. Every summer he took me into his home in Los Angeles and I watched him take the spotlight wherever we went. But even though he took on the world all his life, he took ill and the whole world sat and watched him die. A man who gave tremendously of himself all his life, died poor and heartbroken.
That’s truly what makes me the saddest, is the people you love leaving you at your worst, because they want money or just simply don’t care. I’m probably rambling at this point, but it’s a truly ugly thing to see. It’s hard to watch someone have their family run them dry as they lay on their deathbed. It’s hard watching someone perform emaciated and haggard at a concert and no one lead them to the help they deserve. Will we truly be there for those who we love? It leads me to the words at the end of Michael Jackson’s 1991 song Will You Be There:
In our darkest hour, in my deepest despair
Will you still care?
Will you be there?
In my trials and my tribulations
Through our doubts and frustrations
In my violence, in my turbulence
Through my fear and my confessions
In my anguish and my pain
Through my joy and my sorrow
In the promise of another tomorrow
I'll never let you part
For you're always in my heart