I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
I remember myself as a little girl standing on the stage in the elementary school cafeteria singing The Greatest Love of All at a school talent show. And when I say I sang the song I mean I opened my mouth, moved my lips, and something resembling sound came out of it. I wasn’t fit to stand in Whitney Houston’s presence much less sing a song anywhere near as beautiful as her. She wasn’t just on another planet with her talent. She was in a different universe all together. But I sang that song because I loved that song but even more so, I loved Whitney Houston.
Everybody’s searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me
I knew all the songs. I could listen to I Wanna Dance With Somebody on repeat and never get tired of it. In the soundtrack of my life, I’m pretty sure Saving All My Love For You plays for the memories of the first crush I ever had on a boy. I could give you every single detail of the album cover of her first album simply titled Whitney Houston without even looking at it. It’s an orange background with her name at the top and a picture of her with her hair pulled back. She’s wearing a peach dress and a single strand of pearls, and there are flowers behind her.
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
I adored her, and every single one of her songs resonates with me in some way. To this day, if I hear one, I just stop and smile because these are the songs of my childhood. Last Saturday night, my childhood lost its inspiration when Whitney Houston lost her battle with her demons and went home to the safest place she knew: the arms of the Lord. I’ve ached for her over the last 20 years as the Whitney Houston we all knew and loved faded from existence, but yet whenever I did catch a glimpse of her at whatever appearances she made, I could still see our Whitney underneath it all.
And if, by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love
I’ve struggled over the last week about just how to appropriately grieve her loss. How do you say “goodbye” to a person who made such an impression on your life? Do I sit and listen to her body of work? Do I watch her movies? For the most part, I’ve pushed the memories and the thoughts as far away as I could to avoid the tears and the breakdown, but today, as the world celebrates her life at her funeral, I can push them away no longer. As I sit here and listen to the people closest to her share their memories of her insecurities about her talent, I hurt deeply to think that a woman who inspired and entertained so many could not even see the awe in her own beautiful voice. I hope we did not fail in making our appreciation known. I hope as she left this world she had made peace with her doubts and was able to fully feel the love we legion of fans had for her. While my heart lies broken, I find comfort in knowing that Heaven has gained a sweet soul whose voice is surely blowing the wings off the angels.
Rest in peace, precious Whitney!
Thank you for the memories.