Saying Goodbye to Whitney and Her Life Lessons

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Over the weekend, family and close friends said goodbye to Whitney Houston while the public watched. Like many famous iconic stars before her, the questionable circumstances of her premature death could easily overshadow the career and contribution she offered while alive. The Queen of Soul and Whitney's Godmother Aretha Franklin hopes people will remember  her for her artistry instead of her challenges with substance abuse.

Before her death, the younger generation may have only known Whitney for her famous "crack is whack" comment to Diane Sawyer during a 2002 interview. Postmortem sales indicate she has been re-introduction to them as "the voice" many of us have always known and loved. Digital copies of her music skyrocketed the day after her death with I Will Always Love You leading the way. Although she holds the Billboard's record for most consecutive number one singles at seven between 1985 and 1988, Whitney may be worth more dead than alive as speculation suggests she may well earn millions this year posthumously. Unfortunately, this will likely add her to the Forbes list of top earning dead celebrities with other musical iconic greats like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and John Lennon.
Listening to many of her greatest hits again this past week brought back memories of years and experiences gone by that for me will forever be tied to her music. Like when I repeatedly listened to All at Once trying to get over a lost love or times hanging out with college friends waiting for the iconic How Will I Know video to come on VH1 and the hope it brought for new love could be found. One Moment in Time has always spoken to the athlete in me and the drive to find that "sweet spot" where ability meets performance. When I hear Whitney's Superbowl rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, it not only stirs patriotic pride but also the realization of how powerful the song is to unify people as well.
Sadly, Whitney Houston's death is the silencing of her iconic voice that as a LA Times reviewer clearly noted in 2009, she didn't understand or embrace was a national treasure that resided within her to be protected.   However, even larger of a loss than a voice to the world is her role as a mother, daughter, sister, cousin, and friend to those that loved her most. So what can we learn from the loss of Whitney Houston?

Live passionately – Whitney lived a passion-filled life - passion for singing, passion for spirituality and passion for family. It is important for all of us to find our passions and then fill our days with those things that are most important and fulfilling to us. Whether through healthy living, a hobby, relationships, or pursuit of a personal interest, passionate living can provide positive effects for a happy life.

Don't lose YOU – Whitney shared in her interview with Oprah in 2009 that through the course of being a pop star, wife and mother she lost herself. It is not uncommon to feel trapped in our roles as spouse, parent, sibling, child, or employee. The needs of others can drive our daily activities and over time, we can fall to the bottom of the list. In the process of loving and supporting others, be sure you also keep focus on YOU and what you want and need in life.
Make healthy living a priority – It is clear that Whitney didn't always take care of her body, mind and spirit or maintain healthy boundaries in love and relationships. Money, position, and power can change life priorities but in the end, you can't take any of it with you. Make sure you are making conscious decisions for your life and health that will not only help you look and feel your best physically but emotionally as well.
Don’t be afraid to ask and receive help –Although Whitney had been in and out rehab and making great efforts to leave her addictions behind, addiction to anything (whether it be to attention, prescription drugs, alcohol, sugar, exercise or food) is a very hard thing to overcome. Whether through counseling, rehab or other kinds of support, get help and continue to work on areas that need attention for as long as it takes.
In honor of President's Day and in memory of Whitney Houston and the voice that will ring on for years to come – enjoy these 2 minutes and 50 seconds of history.

 Photo Credit:

Tell us what will you remember most about Whitney Houston?

What is your favorite Whitney Houston hit?

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Whitney's talented voice will be sadly missed. Her daughter must be devastated, she has lost the closest person to her. Report
I skipped this initially because I was so shocked at her death. I have seen nasty comments on her, her life and her lifestyle elsewhere. But none of that is visible on Spark.

I think that Spark people have realized that we ALL have a severe problem we battle daily. I also think we have probably the most forgiving people in the Internet BECAUSE of our battles.

My personal belief is that those who speak so ill of her have a primary problem of jealousy. Her voice, her beauty, and even her death are life lessons. You should be thankful for the talents God has given you, and unlike Whitney, KNOW that God has given you a special blessing and through God, you ARE good enough!

Any negative feelings I have about her passing are all reserved for Bobby Brown, a "bad boy" if there ever was one. Never will I be able to understand the attraction a "bad boy" has for women. It has to be something related the pheromones, because it certainly isn't logical.

IMO, his introducing her to drugs is what directly led to her death and he is guilty, at least, of second degree murder.

Thank you Whitney, for all of the beautiful music you brought into our lives.
I really liked this blog and especially how it points out several very important things. I believe that if she had read and applied the ideas of this blog to her personal life she'd still be with us today. Sadly drug abuse has robbed us of another great talent. Report
Loved Dolly Parton singing her song of I will always love you. Once Whitney sang it Dolly's seemed pale to compare. I am a Dolly fan and I love to see her someday , but different styles of course made the difference.

Bodyguard was an awsome movie and I wish we still had this movie.

Shame they hike up things soon as an artist dies.

A super star with family and friends and a beautiful daughter and

she can't make it each day with out abusing her own body is so sad.

Money seems to all ,without it ,to be the answer. Also to be thin

society seems to make us all feel we must be to be happy.

Neither wealth or fame or family or her slim figure made her happy.

That should tell us happiness is not found in any of these things.

We all chose our paths in life and only us can change our direction.

As for me she like Elvis were and always will be superstars.

We all have faults and hope when we leave this earth our faults will

be buried with us and only our good on earth will remain . Report
I loved Whitney and her music. It colored my life. Grateful her struggles are over~addiction is a horrible thing. So sad for her mom and daughter. So sad we will never get to hear a new Whitney Houston song. She was a tremendous talent, a beautiful person with a gift which she shared lovingly with the world. RIP Whitney. Report
Wow, thank you for the wonderful blog about Whitney; I am a little emotional because I just watched the video of her singing the National Anthem (I LOVE to hear our anthem being sung...the musical rendition during the Olympics has the same effect on me too). I will always remember Whitney as a beautiful classy young woman. She was special to me as Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin were to my mom's generation. Report
I was not a fan of Whitney but did like some of her songs, The person I most feel sorry for is her daughter as her mother dying will leave a big hole in her life and she will have lost the one person who should have guided her though life. Report
A great voice, I pray for her daughter, she and her mom had gotten very close. My favorite song is not on the list. 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go' Report
Thank you for you blog it says a lot and like another person posted already she made mistakes and everyone always knew it and often they the media did get the facts correct when they did what was happening to her. wonder how we would do if everyone know every move we made. we just need to remember her wonderful voice and how she loved her family Report
This was an excellent article. Thank you Report
My heart is still heavy about Whitney's death. Thanks for a thoughtful, celebratory blog about our Whitney. Report
RIP beautiful lady. you will be missed.
My fave song is not on the list. "You give good love" Report
I loved her voice and her realness! She was herself and even though she may have been lacking confidence in some areas, you would never know! I loved her outspokenness concerning Christ and her love for God! No matter what she was going through He was the center of it!
Love you Whitney! Report
Man...I wanted 2 things when I was a kid-to marry Michael Jackson and BE Whitney Houston. She was so pretty...and that voice! Even as a little girl I knew she had a special talent. Regardless of her personal struggles she will always be remembered for her talent and the joy it brought people all over the world. Prayers to her family (especially her mother and daughter) and I hope that they are getting all the support that they need right now. Report
What a beautiful person with an AWESOME gift of her voice. May she rest in peace. Report
R.I.P. Whitney...We all have addictions. We all have demons to conquer. Its what we do with our addictions, fears and demons...We have to look them straight in the eyes and say "BRING IT ON, SUCKA!"....With the help of God, family and friends we can do all things thru Christ who strengthens us Report
I am still in shocked she is gone. I have seen some of the meaniest comments on other sites. Excluding spark ((SMILES)). I was waiting to see if comments would be started here. She was a beauty with a awesome voice. She had talent. She was troubled. So whose not troubled in some area of their life??? She was under a mountain of pressure. Stardom brings such. She was judged no matter what she did or did not do. I choose to remember her in a positive way. Ones who point a finger got three fingers pointing right back at themselves. I feel for family and her daughter. The news media is not finished digging up garbage. She will be missed. I am sure she is in heaven singing her heart out with the angels. No one will judge her any more. She is at rest from worries, troubles and pain. She was here only here for a short time. We should give honor to folks while they still live. Learn to love folk even if they slip. After all God is love. Rest in Christ sweet Whitney. Report
I felt sad all weekend. Report
R.I.P. Whitney, you will be missed! Report
I could never Imagine the pressure of being "A National Treasure" let alone the everyday pressure of being a Mother, Wife, Sister and Daughter that we all have.
What a Blessing We have Recieved to Have HER in our Lifetime....
If you ever drift into the thoughts of the questions of her addictions, just put on any one of her songs and let the Power of her Gift wash over you and Know We All have a Special Gift to Share...
Find Yours and Give it to Everyone.
Thank You So Much for sharing the Video with us.
I saved it to always remember...................... Report
I appreciate you are using her life to be an example for. Others no do better but to me Whitney should be rememberepd only for her beauty, spirit and for all the joy and beauty she brought us all. I grieve for her as a child of the universe who made so many of us feel as though we know her. I believe the entertainment business such.KS the artists dry. It is a shame. Report
@DarcyB11 GOD forbid that you should ever loose your way I would hate for someone to think that of you...."Just another junkie off the streets".... Report
She was someone's mother. someone's child, but more important a child of God. Any death is so very sad..........RIP Whitney Report
I grew up listening to Whitney! It is really hard to pick just one of her songs. I always loved her.
Watching the memorial on Saturday was very sad. It was heartbreaking that she died so young. It is so sad that some people only think of her as an addict. She should be remembered for so much more! She was a beautiful woman and singer and forever will be missed. Report
Whitney's talented voice will be sadly missed. Her daughter must be devastated, she has lost the closest person to her. Report
Thanks for this article. Whitney was the VOICE and according to people that knew her, a beautiful warm and kind person. It's a sad, sad situation and I hope the family can find comfort and peace. No one knows how or when or the shape they will be in when they leave this earth. I choose to remember all the good things she did for others and her music/movie legacy, her laughter and that beautiful smile... She will truly be missed but never forgotten. R.I.P. Whitney, you will always be loved. Report
No matter what mistakes, Whitney is still iconic and represented inner & outer beauty. May she rest in peace with God who loved her most.

Sonya Report
I can not select a favorite song, Whitney's voice represents my early days of young love, heartbreak, betrayal and knowing that I can do anything in God! I am not sure who said it, but I believe "love" never dies and choose to carry the songs of Whitney Houston in my heart as a testimony of the gifts that God gives each of us to carry uniquely for too short a time. May he continue to hold the family in his grace as they live without the physical presence of their beloved! Report
Beautiful voice, passion and a beautiful lady. Just so sad how many entertainers lose themselves trying to be all they think they should be, it seems to happen over and over: The life of a passionate and talented individual is lost because their most remarkable talent overtakes them and they lose sight of simplicity and contentment. Report
It's too late for Whitney but I think on a larger scale we should've looked more closely at her life while she was alive. I think when you're dead & gone I think the accomplishments you made to the world as a whole should be remembered. Not the would've's & could've's. She is gone & we should ALREADY KNOW as an adult to live your life to the fullest. Many other things weigh us down besides our weight like what others think & if I take one thing away from her life is she made her mistakes & lived with them & then went on to turn her life around. That's what each one of us should take away as well. RIP Whitney. Report
Beautiful voice, beautiful person, she will be missed. Report
I feel for her family and friends, but the publicity that she and other celebs receive seems ridiculous, at times. Too bad this country doesn't idolize those that protect it's freedoms in the same way. Police officers, firemen and women, educators, and service men and women do far more for our country then celebrities. To me the real heroes are those that put others first, not careers, money or status. Sorry, there are people that die each day that have contributed more to others and for others.... Report
DarcyB, your comment made me smile in memory of an incident 15 1/2 years ago when Jerry Garcia and Mickey Mantle died in the same week (8/9/95 and 8/13/95 respectively). My daughter, a big Garcia fan, came home from school and told me, a big baseball fan, that "Did you hear Jerry died this week?"

I shrugged. "Meh, another dead drug addict."

She got angry. "I bet you didn't say that when Mickey Mantle died yesterday."

"Of course not! He was a drunk not a drug addict."

"So what's the difference?"

"Meh, another dead drunk."

The fact is their ruinous lifestyles didn't diminish their accomplishments in their respective professions one iota. Likewise, yes, Whitney Houston, another dead drug addict, maybe, but what she did otherwise was still stellar. Report
I used to blame ... yes blame ... Whitney Houston for the obnoxious octave jump that (seemingly) every female singer since of the National Anthem since 1991 felt obligated to do ... "o'er the land of the freee-HEEEE, and the home of the brave" ... and comes away sounding like Rosanne Barr. It makes my skin crawl everytime I hear it. And I always mutter under my breath, "Damn you Whitney Houston." Then after she died, they played it on TV. And yes, there it was, but it was not nearly so extreme as all the wannabe-Whitneys do it and it was very well done and quite beatiful. I had forgotten how good her singing of it was.

Now if we can just convince America's singing sweethearts that (a) that octave jump is not in the music, and (b) they can't pull it off anyway, well, I think that would be afitting memorial to Whitney Houston. Report
Great singer at one time, but too many innocent people have died do to illegal drug users, to me just another junkie off the street. Report
I love Whitney's gospel songs especially, "I Love the Lord, He heard my cry and pitied every ..." Whitney had a smile that wouldn't quit and a love for people. She was a very generous person to others. May she rest in peace with the Lord. Report
Whitney is resting with The Lord. Keep her family in your prayers. Report
I idolized Miss Houston at one point in my life. She was a great human being. May she finally rest in peace. Report
I will always remember her smile. No matter what she was going through her smile lit up the room. I will remember her grace, her strength and her love for GOD. While she couldn't find peace here on earth....I know she now has peace in the arms of the LORD. RIP Whitney! Report
Thanks for the Blog! Great!

My favorite song is not listed. Saving all My Love for You!

RIP WH! Report gave us your best. RIP! Report
Thank you for a lovely, thoughtful blog today. I will always remember the glory of her voice (I certainly couldn't pick a favorite) with awe. My heart goes out to her family and, most especially, her daughter. Report
Such a talent. Her version of the Star Spangled Banner still gives me the chills today. Report
for me, there's very few things better than 80's Whitney. Report
Another example magnified as to the power and danger of drugs. I am so sad for her death and for her daughter's loss. Report
It was devasting to see that casket lifted along with the words of her voice ringing in the atmosphere. Each of us must continue to keep our priorities in balance. Balancing life
begins the moment we arise. Yes, we do have a lot in common with her. This life offers so
many distractions. Like most of you, eating without balancing (planning) is a serious issue for me. Report
To forget her mistakes is to forget those lessons she can teach use. So many talented people go astray with drug and alcohol abuse. To ignore that is, to me, a subtle form of approval. Our society seems to overlook bad behavior when the person is a star. Let's disapprove of her substance abuse, yet still recognize her talent. Hopefully this may prevent other talented people from self destruction. Report
she will always be one of my favorites, at a time in my early thirties, she was there for me Report
It is amazing that an individual with such talent can be so insecure. She was an extremely spiritual person according to those who knew her best, and is now singing with the angels. We are all human. Things just became too overwhelming.
She set the bar, and will be greatly missed. Report
I loved Whitney Houston. As a girl and singer, I wanted to emulate what I heard in her voice. In her voice, she carried a lot of power. Whitney's voice could evoke several different emotions in one song. When she sang, everyone stopped to listen, and when she finished, there was usually no dry eye left in the vicinity. She was such a passionate and beautiful person and that passion and beauty could be heard through her powerful voice. She will be dearly missed by her fans and those closest to her. We all loved her. Report