I saw the headline "Country Music Star Dead At 37," and immediately knew who the "star" was. She was a blip on the music scene when she had a catchy song more than a decade ago. In the mess of her life that followed, Mindy McCready became nothing more than tabloid fodder with her addictions, arrests, and consistently abusive relationships. She never again found the success of her one hit song.
Not being a fan of the song or of her, I never felt the emotional attachment that many did. All I saw was a pathetic, too-young-to-be-washed-up woman who couldn't get her life in control. A harsh judgment of someone I'd never know, yes, but I've seen it too often in both my own life and the celebrity world.
Seeing the headline today, I texted my husband with "Well, she finally offed herself. Her life was more f'd up than even I knew about."
Then when I mentioned the story to a friend, he replied with the obligatory "so sad."
This gave me pause. How detached am I that I haven't an ounce of sympathy for this young life that ended in such tragedy? But then I find myself questioning what the bigger tragedy was - her life having ended or that her two sons will grow up without parents (the father of her youngest died last month under questionable circumstances that McCready was being questioned about). My thought isn't a pleasant one; considering the life she led, perhaps those boys will now have a chance at a childhood.
It irks the hell out of me that too many people bring lives into the world and whether they disregard the importance of this or their desperate need for love simply isn't enough to conquer all, it's the children who pay the price. Celebrity case in point: Bobbi Kristina (parents: Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown). With the sad death of Whitney at too young of an age, shrouded in did-she-bring-it-on-herself, the public eye focused on her daughter - but where was that concern when she was growing up? We all saw the beyond-trashy lifestyle of this couple, and in the midst of it was a little girl who knew a normalcy we could never fathom. Their parenting abilities, like Mindy's, were questioned time and again and yet the children were always returned to these people to continue to corrupt.
This isn't only rampant in Hollywood, it's everywhere. Our systems are so dysfunctional, overloaded, and understaffed that children live and die in our society every day who are neglected, abused, starved, and acting as the parents rather than a kid, it's no wonder when we look around at the generations coming after us and see a vast wasteland. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. Just because a person can reproduce does not mean that they should.
Some want to think the angels are calling these lives home, but I see it as the angels are protecting the little ones.
So, when I see the lives lost too young - famous or not - I can't always manage sympathy. I am not a bleeding heart. What I can do and hope for someone out there to do the same is look for the meaning behind the tragedy. The glint of silver that could be a lesson to us all. It's the wisdom that humans are capable of that keep us grounded. We are not beyond empathy, nor beyond learning from the lives of others.
Sadly, we are simply oblivious to it.