Amy Winehouse was found dead on Saturday in her home in Camden, North London. I fell instantly head over heels for her brassy, blues and jazz infused voice that sang songs of pain and frustration, lust and love. What saddens me more than the loss of this talent to the world, are the reactions from media outlets and individuals who blame Winehouse for what has happened to her (even as the autopsy report is pending).
The news of her death sparked immediate head shakes of disappointment in the artist’s “wasted promises”, finger wags and twitter tags of “I knew it,” and for a few of us, feelings of deep sadness in the loss of life, a life which blessed us with music that spoke to our souls. Known as “the crazy Amy Winehouse” to classmates, what seems clear both from the blues in her voice and the lyrics that she wrote was that melancholia had been a part of her life for a very long time. The numbing affects and addictive nature of drugs and alcohol were an unfortunate combination which led to her inability to keep up the unrealistic endurance required to live life under the scrutiny of millions. They also inhibited her from getting treatment, but I never once counted her out. I had hoped she’d make it through the fire, like Chaka Khan has.
Though I cannot imagine Winehouse’s demons, in my life I have felt lost and depressed; have lived through times where I had no home, no anchor, and was lonely. Having felt all those things, I know that it is only a blessing that I made it out, both physically and emotionally, intact. That is not the experience of a great many of us, some of whom numb their unbearable pain with whatever will do the trick. I feel blessed to have come out of my experience with understanding for those who live with the kind of depression that makes their body ache on the inside and that makes it nearly impossible for them to experience joy or happiness in the way that others do; understanding for those who live with addictions which are as mental as they are physical.
Blessed to have kept my capacity to be sensitive to the loss of life and sensitive to the mistreatment of others in life and in death.
Thank god tears dry on their own…