Sometimes you want that apple to fall far, far from the
tree. But it drops, sits and succumbs to the shadows.
Sometimes the shadow is wide, dark and overwhelming,
blocking out the hope and light. The shadow can be polluted with booze, drugs
and/or deep, unavoidable depression.
Sometimes this shadow casts its darkness on your friend, your neighbor or a
family member. But the shadows that make the headlines are those cast from the
bright light of stardom, and the children basking beneath that must bear the
burden of their parent’s legacy. Not their catalog of albums, hit songs, movies
or TV shows but the lifestyle choices that their parents made.
As I write this, 21-year-old Bobbi Kristina Brown, the only daughter
of the late Whitney Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown, is in a medical-induced coma at a Georgia
hospital. Her father and family hold vigil, praying for her recovery.
Bobbi was found unresponsive and facedown in the bathtub of her
Atlanta home Feb. 1. On February 11 three years ago, her mother was found unresponsive
in the bathtub of her suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s eerie. Too much of
a similarity to be chalked up to a coincidence.
There are as yet no details of Bobbi’s situation, whether it was an accident or
intentional. But it’s hard not to speculate that her mother’s shadow overtook
Her story is not unique.
Last year Peaches Geldof, the 25-year-old daughter
or Sir Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, died from a drug overdose 14 years after
her own mother Paula died from a drug overdose.
These stories don’t need to end
tragically. Back in 2014, Robert Downey Junior’s son, Indio, was arrested for
drug possession. This is hopefully a mere skip in the footstep of his
father who famously battled his own demons. “Unfortunately there's a genetic
component to addiction and Indio has likely inherited it,” Downey stated.
“Also, there is a lot of family support and understanding, and we're all
determined to rally behind him and help him become the man he's capable of
being. We're grateful to the sheriff's department for their intervention, and
believe Indio can be another recovery success story instead of a cautionary
Our job as parents, whether we are famous or not, whether our shadows are dark
and murky or filled with light, is to lead our children down the road to
success — even if our own footsteps veered off the path of sobriety. It may be
hard, especially for those children who are living under shadows that are huge — the shadows of famous parents — but shining a light on addictions, abuse and bad
habits, and getting help may keep those shadows at bay.