Holding on to Spirituality: Bobbi Kristina and Mother Loss

Reflections on grieving the loss of a parent in light of Whitney Houston's death

Whitney Houston and Bobbie Kristina

My friend Jess and I were sitting at my kitchen table, catching up before my birthday party was about to start. “Oh, did you hear about Whitney Houston?” she asked. “She died today.”

After feeling shocked for a moment, my first thought went to Whitney’s daughter, 18-year-old Bobbi Kristina. The next day when I went online to find out more about what happened, I read about Bobbi Kristina’s hospitalization the day after her mother’s death, and my heart literally hurt for her. I remembered the pain and sadness I felt when my own mother died. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to go through that swarm of emotions in the public eye. Even worse, I can’t even begin to comprehend how much it must hurt to read the horrible things people are writing about your mother on the Internet. I was so angry reading some nasty comments about Whitney’s public battle with drugs. I kept thinking, “This is someone’s mother they are writing about.”

My mother died from glioblastoma multiforme, a very deadly form of brain cancer, when I was 23. She was 52. She will never see any of her children get married or have their own children. She will never again hear about our successes or failures; she won’t be there to help console or encourage us when we need it. She was the person I told everything to, the person who listened to me when I was hurt or sad. So how could I face the biggest loss of my life, losing her, without having her there to talk about it?

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It’s been a little over three years since my mother died, and I still miss her dearly. I still feel that ache when I hear others talk about their mothers or feel a sense of bittersweet kinship when I hear of others, like Bobbi Kristina, who have lost their mothers way too soon. I don’t think such a profound loss is something that ever really leaves you.

Fortunately, the immensity of the loss does lessen over time. With the help of friends and family members and a wonderful therapist, my heart is slowly healing. Everyone experiences loss differently and there is no panacea for grieving.

But one element that has helped me during the grieving process is my belief that my mother’s death here on earth was not the end for her, that she is in a better place looking down on us. I don’t think it matters what religion you practice, but a sense of spirituality seems to help me find some peace in grief.

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