If I Don't Have You

2.13.2012

Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.

I never grew up in church. But I knew the words to that song. Because I knew it was time to flip the cassette back to the other side and rewind it. (We only switched it after we listened to that song because, I'm sorry, but how did Aaron Neville and Kenny G weasel their way on to that soundtrack?)

My mom and I were both tiny and young - we lived in Connecticut,  and we drove around in a champagne colored Ford Explorer and listened to The Bodyguard soundtrack. My little sister may or may not have still been a fetus. 

After a late night crafting paper flowers at my Brownie Troop meeting, I would climb into the car and hope that my mom would let me listen to Run To You more than once on the way home..

Run to You by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark

I couldn't even look at any delicate scarf without thinking, "THROW IT ON A SWORD SO WE CAN SEE IF IT REALLY SPLITS IN HALF."

I was almost six. So, it started really early. My love for Whitney Houston.


On Saturday night, in the midst of a packed movie theater, I got a text from my friend Amy that said, "Is Whitney Houston dead?"

I usually believe Amy because she works for a news station and is closely acquainted with the Associated Press.

And then I started getting phone calls. Voicemails. More texts, asking me if I was okay. 

I realize how dramatic that all sounds. But my friends just now how much I love her.

And then I started crying - which was a combination of the sadness of such loss, and also, RACHEL MCADAMS, PLEASE JUST REMEMBER THAT YOU LOVE CHANNING TATUM AND THAT SCOTT SPEEDMAN IS IN LOVE WITH FELICITY.

I started thinking about how many times I have listened to I Have Nothing and been so thankful for not one, but TWO magnificent crescendos. Just when you think her vocal cords weren't capable of anything more robust, she takes it to another level. I also think of how I roll my eyes when, every year, without fail - someone tries to sing it on American Idol. TRIES

The Bodyguard - I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark


I remembered the summer when my little sister Camille and I successfully completed the entire game of Crash Bandicoot and I listened to I'm Your Baby Tonight when attempting to advance to the final levels. (Those don't sound like they go together, but there was one year at Christmas when we sat on blow up chairs and played Cool Boarders and listened to that Charlotte Church and Billy Gilman song over and over. I promise we weren't gamers. I don't know why we thought those were appropriate for Playstation accompaniment. And, what happened to Billy Gilman? FOCUS, FRAN). 

I'm Your Baby Tonight by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark


I thought of how many times have I gone running and lost all motivation to keep going, and then turned on Queen of the Night and catapulted into turbo speed. Or just started thrashing and dancing, right there in the road. 

Queen of the Night by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark



 It always stressed me out when Denzel Washington just completely FORGOT that he was an angel and was supposed to be helping Courtney B. Vance save his church from closing down and also kind of fell in love with his wife. But I would probably get distracted if I saw Whitney sing "I Believe In You and Me" in the middle of a little jazz bar, too. Who am I to judge? 

I Believe in You and Me by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark


There was a time in 1998 when my sister and I would dress in our finest gowns and play Titanic. Camille had bunk beds at the time and we pretended to get sucked underneath the beds in our gowns. When we were tired or thirsty, we stopped to take a break. During our rest times, I would listen to her on the radio and think about world peace. (And YES, I was way too old to playing Titanic. We were creative?)

At my eighth grade graduation, my friend Sara and I stood in front of peers and families, and sang When You Believe. Looking back, I'm struggling to find the relevance of a song about God's people in a mass Exodus to the promised land having anything to do with us graduating the eighth grade. Look how far we've come? All the way to high school? Or maybe Sara and I had the power of persuasion and just convinced them to let us sing it.

When You Believe (& Mariah Ca by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark




Is it possible to choose a favorite? NO, IT'S NOT.



Whitney taught me:








She helped start my annual tradition at the Super Bowl of saying, "NO ONE WILL EVER SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AS WELL AS SHE DID. NO ONE. NOT EVEN JENNIFER HUDSON."

I always thought she'd make a comeback. I always believed Whitney would get better and that she would surprise everyone and that we could celebrate the return of the woman that made people exhale.

Try she did. The greatest talent - she had.* 


Less than two weeks ago, I sent a text to my best friends detailing a dream I had about Whitney. I dreamt that I was her caretaker and she broke down on stage and I had people help her off so we could have a counseling session. And then, this.

Life is just a breath. It is fleeting. My heart aches for her family, and for her daughter that is probably hurting so much right now. God gave Whitney such an incredible gift, and I have enjoyed it for the majority of my life. No other woman could sing the way she did. It was hearing her sing that made me love singing. There's nothing like it. So thank you, Whitney Houston. 

And thank YOU for letting me be dramatic and say all of those things.

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*Yoda I sound like when I type like that.

10 comments:

  1. You are a sweet girl. Mrs. Houston would have loved you.

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    1. My emotions are out of control. You even saying that almost made me tear up a little. Thanks, girl :)

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  2. I loved her too...How do you remember all these things? Billy Gilman...hilarious!

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    1. I have absolutely no idea. It's kind of comforting to know that I can still remember a lot, but not necessarily useful. I looked up Billy Gilman on the YouTubes and he pretty much looks and sounds the same. The good news is, his voice is deeper and he no longer has braces.

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  3. I love the body guard soundtrack!! I remember trying to sing "I will Always Love You" when I was little and I was terrible, but I just loved that song so much. It is so sad that she died at such a young age.

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    1. I was thinking that as I was driving yesterday - I wonder just how many people owned that soundtrack at some point. And we all sang it. Because it was so dramatic and so good.

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  4. Here's some background: I was at work and my coworker saw the story on the wire. I didn't immediately trust it (mostly due to the fact that the AP said Gabrielle Giffords was dead too.) CNN was taking too long to verify it, so I thought you would be the best way to get the information I needed. I think this speaks volumes about your love for her.

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  5. i just clicked on. every. link. to. songs. you just posted! and sang along when i knew them. i was just telling people last week how i use to crack the window in the bathroom when i took a shower to let the steam out, and would then sing "i will always love you" with as much vibrato as i could muster because i imagined that there were talent search people listening outside the window. i always sang that song when i played piano too. it was a fave. loved your post. so sweet and such a loss.

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    1. Oh my gosh, I miss you! This made me laugh. Because I thought when I wrote it, "I'm sure in real life if I were reading this I would be the ONLY person to click on that many links." But I am so glad I am not the only one. I know a lot of people share biographical accounts of her life, but I wanted everyone to remember the effect she had on us as music lovers! Le sigh.

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