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Amy Winehouse at the Eurockéennes of 2007

Image via Wikipedia

Amy who?

I spent all night (4 hours) watching just about everything there is to watch about Amy Winehouse on the internet because my niece invited me to watch her perform in a play at her school.  It was a tribute to an artist that I knew nothing about.  “The Amy Winehouse Project”, an original production.  I don’t tend to like the “original productions” at her school and wonder why the teacher makes the children perform his God-awful “works of art”.  Anyway, I went and the least that it did was spark an interest.

Of course when Amy Winehouse died, I heard about it just like everyone else.  I had heard of the singer but had not really followed any of her music and only knew, of her, the negative things portrayed in the media.  That was mainly her drug and alcohol abuse.  Amy was no one to me and of no more significance than any other celebrity that gets so caught up in their world that they destroy it.  At her death, she was one of countless performers that succumbed to destruction that is paparazzi, public life, and stardom.  Yet, 4 hours of watching her be a normal person in front of the camera, although drunk or high or both much of the time, has given me a thought I wanted to share.

Amy Winehouse at the Virgin Festival.

Amy Winehouse at the Virgin Festival Image via Wikipedia

The most devastating thing to see was this woman performing with her band, her singers, her managers, her handlers right there by her side, literally.  Her backup singers sometimes supporting her in her altered state, as she was unable to speak coherently, walk or even stand, at times.  I lashed out, mentally, at all of those that would allow this poor troubled soul to display her pain as she so frequently did.  How could anyone who loved her allow her to go on stage or do any of the countless destructive things that she did?  Leeches, all of them, worried about their own ability to stay in her circle, were too afraid to push her toward right.

Then I realized that she was an adult.  She was capable of her own decisions, in theory, and responsible for whatever the consequences may be.  Addiction is a terrible disease that destroys the addicted and those that are in any way connected to the addicted.  It is terribly simple to say, “why did they allow this.”  When, in reality, there is not much that anyone other than Amy could have done to kill this disease.  The recovery from addiction is a lifelong endeavor that must be taken on by the addicted.

Coroner Suzanne Greenaway gave a verdict of “death by misadventure,” saying Wednesday the singer suffered accidental alcohol poisoning when she resumed drinking after weeks of abstinence.

“The unintended consequence of such potentially fatal levels (of alcohol) was her sudden and unexpected death,” Greenaway said.

(For more information: Amy Winehouse’s Autopsy: Coroner Says Singer Died From Too Much Alcohol.)

It was a parent’s nightmare.

I feel the pain of a parent having lost their child long before the child was actually gone.  Amy’s parents, friends, co-workers had to witness the impending destruction of one that they loved, all the while being unable to stop the train wreck from occurring.  They are the ones that are stuck with the “maybe I could have tried again,” or “perhaps if I said this,” or “why did I let her do that.”  They are the ones that will feel the pang of thought of having let her down and let her die.

Amy Winehouse

Image by NRK P3 via Flickr

At the end of the day, hers was a tragic story; a story that is repeated time after time with no paparazzi to witness. If I endeavor to learn anything from this tragedy, it is that our children will make their mistakes.  It is our responsibility to be there for them when it hurts us but, even more when it hurts them.  Push when pushing is all that can be done and hopefully they will come back to the light with only a few scrapes and bruises.