Didn’t we almost have it all! #RIP Whitney Houston

Didn’t we almost have it all!

A tribute and apology to Whitney Houston.

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna


If any of you desire to bring judgment upon the unfaithful wife, do not omit the weight of the heart of her husband or the measure of his soul’s light by each lumen, joy, kindness, and peace to which you or another neighbor can testify.

If you desire to whip this unfaithful wife for her crimes, you must also examine the spirit of each member of the offended family and public. Were they accomplice to her husband’s contempt for his wife, to his adventures with other women and wives of other men, to her unspoken pain and her unspoken complaints of her own neglect? 

Did they stand by and ignore her neglect?

Does her sin so outweigh her contribution, her sacrifices, and the untold sins against her that she herself has forgiven?

Does her sin outweigh all the times her smile uplifted you or her song released you from your worries and troubles?

You men, did you too not look upon her with lust and desire? Did you not ravage her in your thoughts and dreams – though she was not your wife? You women, did you not look at her with envy for her beauty and the men that admired her.

And if any of you would punish her in the name of righteousness and lay the ax unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots; And verily he will find the roots of the good and the bad, the fruitful and the fruitless, all entwined together in the silent heart of the earth.

– Kahlil Gibran

News of Whitney Houston’s death came as a shock to fans around the world. Unbid tears have flowed. The circumstances are neither pretty nor proper, but the repeated message from the Beverly Hills police and coroner was that there was no evidence of foul play.

In response to the overwhelming coverage of Whitney’s passing on social and mainstream media, some question Whitney Houston’s relevance – especially considering that her history of substance abuse and reckless lifestyle does not make her an ideal role-model.

You can find overwhelming description of her personal trials and challenges all over the internet. That’s not interesting to me.

Honestly, news of her death did not shake my heart. I was saddened to hear that someone whose songs had touched my heart… had died in difficult circumstances: material, emotional, and spiritual.

The news did shake my GF’s heart and my GF was a wreck. She listened to Whitney Houston’s songs for hours and she cried through them all. She bawled unabashedly.

I wanted to understand my GF’s pain and loss, so I asked my GF why she was taking the news so hard. She replied by taking one of my favorite ceramic pieces (a folk art bowl decorated with running deer – the deer painted in a naive style that resembles prehistoric cave painting) and smashed it on the floor.

The ceramic bowl is in pieces. And now in the trash. The potter has been dead for 200 or more years. But now he and his life is not a part of my life. Not physically.

“A dumb ass like you can figure this one out,” she explained with a snarl. And then she went back to watching more videos of Whitney on youtube.

I tried to explain that I wasn’t mocking her, but she glanced at another object from my ceramics collection and I shut up. [gulp]

Obviously, this was about her. My GF. Her feelings about life and death. This was not really about Whitney Houston.

Whitney Houston, Didn’t We Almost Have It All

I do understand that we open our hearts to the artists, musicians, writers, and others that speak to our hearts. And those that spoke for us. They become a part of us. They become ours in a manner of speaking. And to hear of their death is not only to lose them, it is to lose a part of ourselves.

I grew up with Michael Jackson. From the Jackson Five to Thriller. My first hand-drawn portrait was of Michael Jackson. And despite the strange circumstances that surrounded him (allegations of child molestation, the fake nose, and all his weirdness), I felt profound (not tearful) loss when Michael died.

And though I did not weep at his death, I return, on occasion, to dwell upon the words of the poet, Maya Angelou:

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We had him, Angelou writes.

I had him. Just like you had Whitney. Or, you, Kurt Colbain, John Lennon, or JFK. Or you, someone else.

They inspired us. Lifted up our hearts. Or carried us through an hour of a long, dark night.

Didn’t we almost have it all?

And what of the homeless, the hungry, the sick, the oppressed, the crying, and the dying?

Why do we not open our hearts to them? Because they have not given themselves to us?!

Perhaps, it is we who should be giving ourselves to them? Just as we have received from others.

For if we did, perhaps then, then, we would have it all.

Thank you for giving us so much, Whitney. And forgive us for taking so much from you that it hurt as much as it did. May your journey ahead give you all and many times more than we have taken of you.

Recent essays and other writing by Stan Faryna

Why You Won’t Stop Blogging or Doing Social Media!

Castleville and Social Media Cheats.

Do you describe yourself as a social media [xxx]? Really?!

How to write an epic blog post. And other social media DOHs

A Fan Letter to Penelope Trunk and her farmer


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Stan Faryna
13 February 2012
Bucharest, Romania

18 Responses to Didn’t we almost have it all! #RIP Whitney Houston

  1. When Bob Dylan ‘sank beneath our wisdom like a stone’ to quote Leonard Cohen from a song about someone else; we let him become a person again. When letting people whom we have elevated for the simple beauty of their voice sink into the life they choose, we are shocked usually when the life they live is ended by their handling of that life.
    They took away something we thought we owned, our version of their life. I recently pointed out the highpoints and the lowpoints of living; and here is an example. “…Almost…” but gone!
    We cannot almost have all of anything, what we have of something is all of it we are getting at that moment, more in quantity is harder to get than more in quality.
    Stan believe or not you still have the vase, only in a different fashion…
    You have the experience of it’s acquirement, the touch, feel, look and pleasure while you owned it! Then you had the experience of the loss of it, which will stay with you as long as you shall live, methinks!!
    When Bob Dylan dies or someone like him, we will rue the loss for our reasons of perceived ownership, not his loss of living…
    A post to make the mind still, thanks…Billy

    • Stan Faryna says:

      It just so happened that I was listening to Bob Dylan when I got notification of your comment.

      I’ll savor what you have said here.

  2. Whitney’s death shook me. The death of a loved one or friend would hurt much more. Two different experiences touching two separate parts of my heart.
    Whitney spoke FOR me. Her words and voice are an experience into feeling and sharing life’s richest and simplest joys. When I heard of her death I was reminded of how random and merciless death can feel to those left behind.
    And no one can live in that place for too long. The feelings are too intense. But when they come they have to be completely enjoyed and respected without interruption…or things / people will literally or figuratively “fly”.
    When my sister died I would get so angry and clam up and walk away as soon as someone expressed discomfort with my grief. Grief that came whenever it felt like it, no matter what I was doing or where I was.
    You learn who can handle emotions and who can’t.Once and only once have I ever yelled, “Leave me alone! I feel like crying!” when I was told to hush, that everything would be okay. And that was enough.
    The message was received.
    I no longer cry around that person.

    Thanks, Stan. Good thought provoking post.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      “Whitney spoke FOR me.”

      That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what I was thinking, but I needed to hear it.

      Thank you, Bets.

      I want to write blog posts that move the mountains in our hearts. If I’m just making you think, hmmm….

  3. Interesting you quoting Kahlil Gibran in connection with Whitney Houston. It is as if you put a filter over the mundane and gaudy aspect of her death.

    Whitney with her lovely voice touched parts of my heart and I feel sorry for her and her family, it makes me feel sad for her daughter to be left without a mother.

  4. Stan,

    I grew up with Whitney Houston, and quite honestly, turning on my computer today- was the first I had “heard” of it…

    Hmm. I think that you, Billy, Betsy and Barbara summed everything up.

    Dead is done. No more chances, no more sunrises, no more rides and no more music. The dead don’t hurt, only we do, the living. Remembering.

    I wonder if listening to her mother’s voice and music will someday soothe and even bring a smile to her daughter’s heart… not now, in any case. But maybe, if she goes on living, healing, living… maybe.

    I have to live. I have shared enough, with those of you here to know that I fight constantly to keep the monster that stalks me in the dark and in the light …simply away.

    I will say a prayer for her and all she gave each one of us that has ever heard her voice, and pray that where she is now is all light, peace and music.

  5. I, too, was affected more than I realized at first by this tragic death. Not as bad as your GF but enough that one of my son’s asked why I looked so sad. When I told him, he was puzzled since Whitney Houston was not someone I followed that closely and he knew that.

    I guess for me – given she was a decade younger than me – the tragic loss for NO GOOD REASON of another bright star in our world – whatever her personal demons were – just touched me.

    My first such loss was JFK, when I was 10 – hmm, the year Whitney was born, I guess…I didn’t even really “know” our President but I obsessed about him for quite a while.

    These deaths are the touchstones in our lives. Everyone older than 6 or so remembers where they were when they heard of JFKs death, of John Lennon’s murder, and the explosion of the Challenger, not to mention when we landed on the moon. Good and bad. Life.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      It’s a surprising honor to have your comment, Bruce!

      JFK moves me. Like MLK,Jr. And Ghandi-G [grin]. I hear their speeches and they fuel me to do good.

      John Lennon, Johnny Cash, and Elvis too. But they were kinda before my time. So I take them as a gift and I do not mourn their loss.

      Also Beethoven, Debussy, and Stravinsky.

      The deaths of Karol Wojtyla, Ronald Reagan, and Michael Jackson (as I mentioned) reached deeply into my heart. But tears did not fall. However, I did have unbid tears for Karol when he was alive and his words moved my heart at Central Park.

      Life. Yup. Life. It’s bigger than you. And me.

  6. I am always really sad when a bright star burns out. It’s just tragic when someone with such extraordinary gifts is seduced by a lifestyle that is harmful and life limiting. It could have gone so many other ways.

    On the bright side, she was amazing and she made a huge impact wither her music and her voice. Her legacy will live on.

    There is always a bright side.

  7. Didn’t we almost have it all? Perhaps the best way to view Mitt Romney’s weekend is that he survived. He couldn’t afford to lose the Maine caucuses (and have the storyline exist that he lost four-straight contests). He couldn’t fare poorly in the CPAC straw poll (especially after his “severely conservative” line). And guess what: He won both. They weren’t impressive victories, and they both had their controversies — a Maine county postponed its caucus, while Rick Santorum accused the Romney camp of rigging the straw poll (but isn’t that exactly what a straw poll is?) But both events showed that they can win, even when it isn’t pretty. And that very well might be the theme of Romney’s entire primary fight: winning ugly. Still, a win is a win…

  8. Marcus Baker says:

    No person’s passing is ever a mistake or too soon for the person concerned. Everything happens in perfect timing no matter whether it’s Joe Bloggs or Whitney Houston.

    I was shaken by the news of her passing, mostly because somehow we think people in the spotlight will always be there but of course there’s no difference between them and us as far as that’s concerned.

    The pain is for those are left behind and who feel the loss. The extent to which we feel this depends on the connection we have with them. Whitney connected with millions through her music. This was her gift.

    She will be missed and remembered.


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