Thinkerfromiowa's Blog

Conversation about a variety of subjects

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Hello, everyone.

The entertainment world lost a jewel this past Saturday (2/11/12) when Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room in southern California.

I am a classical music fanatic, so I do not follow popular music at all, but I have heard and read reports than Ms. Houston was so gifted in music that she could have given singing lessons to Frank Sinatra.

Naturally, the Houston family is going through their trauma at the death of their loved one.

Purely by coincidence, I got an e-mail last week from Aurora Winter, head of the Grief Coach Academyin southern California.  The e-mail mentioned an article on the subject of grief that appeared in Time Magazine in January of last year.  Part of Time’s coverage included an interview with Val Walker, a grief counselor, about her book, The Art of Comforting: What to Say and Do for People in DistressIn an interview with Time Magazine, dated January 4, 2011, Ms. Walker said the following:

“The most import of all qualities, the top thing is to be present. You can be as kind and loving as anybody since Jesus Christ but if you cannot be present while you are being kind, it’s a waste. You have to work at being really there. You’re not going to be distracted and multi-tasking.

“The next quality is empathy. That would be just feeling with someone even if you haven’t been through the same experience. Another is just being willing to acknowledge that person’s experience. You can actually reflect back to the person: it sounds like you’re going through [whatever they’ve said they are experiencing]. Also, to just acknowledge [the loss]. I heard your father died, I’m so sorry.”

Further down in the interview, she said,

“One of the most important things not to say is “Here’s what you need to do, you gotta’ be strong, be positive.” For folks who can’t muster up those feelings, it makes them feel worse. It’s better to say I believe in you instead of have faith or believe in yourself.

“Also, we often say, you’ll get over it, you’ll get through. It’s better to say, “Take the time you need to get over it,” so they don’t feel rushed. It’s really comforting when people don’t pressure you in any way. Another thing not to say is “Oh you think your situation is bad, you should see what the Katrina survivors went through.” Comparing somebody’s pain to some else’s is not going to work.”

As one who has been through numerous traumas in his life, I can say in all honesty that I have never heard or read such true wisdom as Val Walker has spoken in the above passages.

I have a couple of responses to Ms. Walker’s wisdom.  First, there is the matter of being there for someone going through a trauma.  There are times when simply knowing that someone is there for you, and that there is someone who really cares about what you are going through, is enough to make the load lighter.  In my various traumas, I do not know if I could have made it without the Mainline church.  They were there for me when the Evangelicals did their thing at the private high school in Iowa.  They were there for me when I lost my first wife in 1983.  And Carol’s sister and family, who virtually never darken the door of a church, were there for me when I lost Carol at Xmastime in 2007.  Knowing that there were people in my corner who gave a damn about me made all the difference in the world as I worked my way through those traumas.

Second, I want to address the matter of taking “too long” to recover from a loss.  Last summer, I got an e-mail from someone we knew when we lived out inCalifornia.  The heart of the message was, “Carol’s gone.  Get over it!”  I wrote back and said that that was easier said than done.  To make a long story short, I have not had another e-mail from this person.  It is like I no longer exist as far as he is concerned.

The crux of the matter is that, like the song said 50 years ago, happiness is different things to different people.  So is grief.  Some people can work through a traumatic loss in a matter of months, if not weeks.  Others take much more time.  According to Ms. Winter’s e-mail, the Time article said that it takes 5-8 years on the average to work one’s way completely through the grief process after a loss.  In short, it costs something, especially in terms of time, to commit to be at the side of one grieving a loss, and, frankly, it is a VERY RARE Evangelical who is willing to commit to another person for that long.

I would venture one further thought:  There are times when just hearing the right words does more than anything else.  When I lost my Ginny, my Mainline friends let me know that they were there for me, but they also affirmed me by telling me that they were there.  When I lost Carol, one of her cousins and one of her nieces – neither of which ever darkens the door of a church so far as I know – sent me messages telling me how sorry they were about the loss and how special Carol was to them.  I needed to know that they were in my corner, but even more so, I needed to know that Carol’s passing left a void in their lives as it did in mine.  Sending those e-mails cost Jeff and Lynn only the time spent in writing and posting them to my e-mail address – nothing more.  And yet that was more than the Christians in my world – who whinny the name “Jesus” at every opportunity – could manage.

Last Monday – 2/13 – I needed to make a trip to Target to get a new coffee pot and some other things, so I rode the little bus out there.  There was a guy on the bus who brayed all the way to Target about Whitney Houston and who trashed her at every opportunity.  He also got off at Target.  After I did my shopping and checked out, I waited at the bus stop for the bus back downtown.  He came up to me and started again on Whitney Houston and the young people in this country.  He also got started in on disabled people.  I said as little as I could, for I could see that he was a raging, raving Conservative maniac, and I had no idea of what violence he was capable of.  It has been my personal experience and observation that Conservatives are so mentally unhinged that they can truly be considered as dangerous people.  I did not want another trip to the hospital, so I avoided him at all cost.

To be honest, I was astonished – and appalled – at the volcano of hate that this guy was.  But he said something on the bus right before we got to Target that made everything make sense.  He brayed something about getting baptized as a Mormon.  In my life experiences, Mormons are just like Evangelicals – they are not warm, fuzzy, loving people with charity in their hearts.  Mitt Romney, the Mormon presidential candidate, made a chilling comment about not caring about the poor in this country.  I once was a Romney believer, but after that comment, and after being with the guy on the bus, I have had to abandon any thought about voting for Mitt Romney this fall.

As icing for the cake, we turn to the Conservatives’ – and Evangelicals’ – best friend and source of all knowledge – Fox News.  There were some stories about Ms. Houston’s demise on their website, and comments to the stories.  Some of the comments were so vile that even Fox News itself could not handle them, so they were taken down.  But some survived on line, and Crooks & Liars quoted some of them.  The language in the comments is taken from Fox News.  If anyone has problems with the diction, he should take it up with Fox News, not me.  I am not responsible for the idiocy of others.  Get ready to vomit

– – – – – – – – – – –

Her dying words were….I just want to be fucking white!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every progressive and Obama supporter deserves to suffer the exact same fate as she did.

Progressives/Obama supporters + Rx pills + booze + filled bathtub = win forAmerica

just another crack head knee grow  [COMMENT:  Whatever the hell THAT means!!]

The buckwheat supporter is dead !


I am not the least bit racist, but I see this as an analogy to the theatrical series “Planet of the Apes”. So many African-Americans have chosen to use drugs and abandon their kids that the chickens are coming home to roost. Whitney does her people a disservice by the lifestyle she chose to live. (10 people liked this comment.)

– – – – – – – – – –

If you wonder why I fear for my life whenever I am around Conservatives and Evangelicals, now you know.  Their hate for blacks is based on the one thing that blacks can’t help – the color of their skin.  Likewise, I can’t help the one thing that drives Conservatives’ and Evangelicals’ dislike of me – my intellect.  Just as God gave the blacks their skin color and expected them to do the best they could with it, so likewise God gave me my intellect and expected me to do the best I could with it.

I know that people ignore these diaries of mine, and I am comfortable with that.  Because as long as they ignore me, they have no basis on which to expect me to embrace their poisonous, cancerous attitudes and beliefs.  And given their capacity for hate and harming another human being, I think I am better off if they ignore me.

The attitudes expressed by Fox News are sick and disgusting.  Likewise, the attitudes of the Mormon on the bus were sick and disgusting.  Just as sick and depraved is the word just now coming out that the Mormon Church did its “baptism for the dead” rituals on the parents of Simon Wiesenthal and on various relatives of Elie Wiesel.  But just as sick and depraved and disgusting are the attitudes of Evangelicals towards those who believe in a different flavor of “Jesus” – or who have walked away from “Jesus” and no longer believe in him.  And what is sad is that these haters are determined to release their venom on the dead who are no longer here to defend themselves, or on the survivors who are going through a serious trauma.

So go ahead and ignore me, Christers.  I don’t mind it in the least if you do.  But if you think that being ignored is going to shut me up, I’m afraid that you have another think coming.




February 17, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: