When news of Whitney’s passing broke on Saturday afternoon, it hit hard. My teenagers were surprised.
“Mom, what’s the matter with you! Why are you crying?”
“You don’t understand,” I said. “It’s Whitney! Our Whitney! She is… was… everything. When I was growing up, she sang the soundtrack to my life, all our lives. She’s the greatest of them all!”
Whitney wasn’t striving to be a great singer. All she did was open her mouth and effortlessly, the most incredible music would pour out. Music that hit us right in our hearts and opened our souls, and gave deeper meaning to whatever we were experiencing. She brought to life the lyrics of others and inspired a legion of great artistes. It’s as if Whitney were a channel, a bridge to some place in the heavens where life is perfect, feelings are pure and souls dance free.
Remember that scene in “The Preacher’s Wife” where she’s singing “I Believe in You and Me,” and the angel Dudley (Denzel Washington) is watching, mesmerized. And you know that he can’t stop himself from falling in love, even though he shouldn’t, she’s just so utterly beautiful, so truly angelic herself. In real life, Whitney was probably more angel than human, a fragile songbird who struggled to adapt to life in this very challenging and often dark world.
As much joy as she gave us, her own life was likely very confusing, a harsh tangle with this reality. She’s in a softer place now, I’m sure. And her time here was not wasted. For two decades she shared of herself with us all, making our souls dance with the most beautiful voice ever known. She gave us many, many incredible moments in time.
Thank you, Whitney! We will always love you.