When I heard the news about Amy Winehouse losing her battle against drug addiction and alcoholism age only 27 I felt my heart sink. Amy's album Back to Black is what I listened to day in and day out for the first year after my Mothers death. Amy's velvet voice became a comfort to me as I sang along to her words, quite often with a raw pain in my heart and tears on my pillow as I wept for the loss of my Mum.
Of course Amy's death wasn't a surprise to me, after all her drug abuse was so well documented in the media. Her chaotic, unhappy lifestyle was out there for all to read as she struggled with inner turmoil and battled with her demons. I, like many of Amy's fans prayed, wished and hoped that she would win the battle and become healthy once again. I felt so sad for her as I watched the slow demise of such a gifted person.
I questioned why a girl who appeared to have it all would abuse herself the way she did and how the drugs had managed to take such a hold on her. At first I blamed her relationship with her husband Blake. It was his fault she became wrapped in a life of drugs, his fault she ruined her life...But was it really? Why was she attracted to a bloke who had a drug problem in the first place, why would she have even entertained the idea of experimenting with heroin? These are not activities most of us would ever consider, even for love. Most of us would have run a mile the moment we realised drugs were a part of a potential partners life.
Surely her issues were much more deep rooted and getting involved with Blake just sent her life down a slightly different route. He clearly had his own issues and for her to feel a connection with him as strong as she did went a whole lot deeper than just getting high. Had she not met Blake I think her life may have still been one of self destruction.
I feel for Amy's family and friends, especially her parents as they must have known one day there would be a phone call. To watch your precious, beautiful and talented child become a hideous mess so publicly must have broken their hearts. I can not imagine the painful process they have been through these past few years as they sat helplessly waiting... waiting for that phone call telling them their baby had lost her battle with addiction.
I know lots of people do not care and feel there is so much news worthier of our attention at the moment rather than some selfish junkie who ultimately killed herself. And I can understand that lack of compassion...but maybe, just possibly they would feel a bit differently if they had a loved one who had very quickly slipped down that slippery, icy slope and struggled to pull themselves back up.
The news of Amy's death has raised awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction. It really does destroy lives and it has also reinforced that addicts come from all walks of life, all backgrounds and it can happen to absolutely anyone.
As parents we need to be educated about addiction and not just drugs but also alcohol and just hope and pray that we are never faced with the same awful situation that Mitch and Janis Winehouse found themselves in. How can you not feel any compassion for her parents? Or feel their pain as you witness their public display of grief?
For their sake we should not judge but remember Amy for her talent, her music, her voice and that at the end of the day she was their baby.
R.I.P Amy Winehouse 1983 - 2011