Having lost my mother to drug addiction and finally to an overdose, I feel a deep sense of empathy and compassion for Bobbi Kristina Brown. I know personally how it feels as a child to endure the abandonment of drug addiction, as well as the relentless grief that follows an untimely death.
So while I was heartbroken when I learned three years ago that
Whitney Houston had died, I was also very aware of the struggle Houston had with drugs and how difficult it must have been for her daughter, Bobbi Kristina. As you've likely seen, Bobbi Kristina has been hospitalized for the last
several weeks, many of which were spent in an induced coma. And I can't help but
believe that she's having a difficult time grieving the loss of her mother.
My mother was addicted to one thing or another throughout
all of my childhood and most of my young-adult life. My mother's addiction,
from my perspective, was her identity. As a little girl I learned to determine whether
she'd had a couple of beers or a fistful of Vicodin from the rhythm of her
voice and the way she enunciated her words. I had to learn to intuit when
things could go horribly wrong or when the situation was mild and not headed to
danger. Learning the difference would be life-saving for me, helping me to know
whether I could trust her to drive or if I'd need to call my grandmother to
keep her from getting behind the wheel.
As the daughter of an addict, I know how painful it is to not be enough.
On many occasions I assisted my mother
as she fell into seizures due to over-intoxication and I saved her life. There
were also several times when I called for someone to come and rescue me from
her sorrow. Like all children of addicts, I became the parent in our
The most painful was finding my mother lifeless in her home.
I'd spoken with her the night before and I heard her despair loud and clear. I
asked her if she wanted me to come over and she said no. I knew somewhere in my
heart that I'd never see her alive again when we hung up the phone. I honored
her request to call her in the morning, because I knew she was tired of
fighting herself. I knew she was leaving.
As the daughter of an addict, I know how painful it is to
not be enough to inspire a parent to become healthy, whole and drug-free. As
the media has given us a small view into the heartbreak of Bobbi Kristina , I
can only imagine her grief. It is not just the grief of her mother's death
three years ago, but also the despair of watching her struggle for a lifetime
with addiction. It can only be a psychological and emotionally agonizing experience
because we are so energetically connected to our mothers.
My mother's death was the most profound and transformative
experience of my life. It was so painful that therapy was the only way I could
move from the darkness and into the space of hope and desire to live again. The
one good thing that came from her death is that it propelled me,
and I do believe her spirit has guided me into a place of wholeness.
I pray that
Bobbi Kristina, should she recover, will find the will to love herself in a way
her mother could not. In my view, the journey of loving one's mother and losing
her to drug addiction feels like the experience of one's own death. I can only
hope that Bobbi Kristina can rise from her ashes and start life anew, accepting
that although she couldn't save her mom, she can continue to love her and