British soul singer Amy Winehouse died yesterday afternoon.
In her short 27 years, she struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, a failed marriage, and a deteriorating career. She was stalked by the paparazzi and continuously criticized in the international media.
The world is abuzz with news, tweets, posts and messages from fans and critics alike, remembering the star and talking about her troubled life and unexpected death. But my thoughts this morning go out not to Amy, but to Mitch and Janis Winehouse, her parents.
The irony is that, although she was nearly my age, I am looking at her today not through the eyes of a contemporary, but through the eyes of a mother. I see a very unhappy little girl.
Whatever troubles and struggles Amy faced, I believe her parents faced with her. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to lose a child, even more so when the death was preventable. I cannot conceive of the pain these parents must be experiencing right now.
As parents we are supposed to protect our children. The questions rise up like angry waves: how could they let this happen to her? Why did they allow her to make the choices she did, to live the life she did? I’m sure Mitch and Janis themselves are asking the same questions.
But it does no good to judge. No-one will ever really know what happened to Amy Winehouse, or why.
You might be wondering why on earth the death of a rock star is this relevant to this blog. Because Amy Winehouse was a Veggie-tot. All children are born Veggie-tots, in touch with the earth and their place on the planet. Almost always, babies are born surrounded with love and support, and sources indicate Amy’s childhood was no different. Something changed, somewhere along the way.
I look at my own babies and I know the same can happen to them. Being a Veggietot Mom (or -Dad) means raising our children with awareness, with joy, with values. But it also means raising them with the confidence to be their own selves, and it means letting go at some point and allowing them live their own lives. Even if they’re not the lives we would have chosen for them.
Because every human being has the right to his or her choices. We face choices every day – in the supermarket, in the living room, on the streets and in the boardroom. Some may be life-and-death choices; others are more subtle but still have astounding repercussions.
Death is always tragic – even more so when the victim is so young. Youth and promise go hand-in-hand so a young life lost is like a promise broken.
Amy Winehouse was a gifted musician and performance artist. Her premature death leaves a gaping hole in the world, especially in the hearts of her parents.
So yes, a bit of a downbeat post this morning. But I felt anything else would be somewhat inappropriate.
I’ll be spending today with my family, with a special eye on my children.
Amy Winehouse, 1983-2011