This afternoon I put my twenty-something daughter on a plane, and sent her back to her life in San Francisco.
This afternoon Bobbi Kristina Brown, age 22 and cursed with wealth, celebrity and the all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of Hollywood privilege, died.
She was just a child.
I shared very little with Whitney Houston as a human being, except to have been born around the same time, and have a daughter around the same time. Like everyone else, I marveled at Houston’s stunning beauty and otherworldly talent, a superstar who lived in a parallel universe to the world inhabited by us mere mortals.
But still. As a mother, I am outraged and grief-stricken at this terrible, stupid, unnecessary loss. It follows the senseless tragedy of Whitney Houston’s untimely death in 2012, but is no less painful for that. Nor for its sense of inevitability.
Bobbi Kristina Brown was said to be depressed, at a loss, inconsolable at the death of her mother. She was found unconscious in a bathtub three years almost to the day of her mother’s death – in a bathtub, after using drugs – in 2012.
You couldn’t help but think that Bobbi Kristina Brown – named for her father, and endowed with his looks, of indeterminate talent – never had a chance.
All you had to do was watch that abominable reality show in 2005, “Being Bobby Brown” – during the couple’s crack-addicted years – and shudder for the future of any child being raised in that home.
But Houston came from a large and close-knit family (although her brother Michael has admitted he introduced his sister to crack cocaine – ugh) and Bobbi Kristina had that.
She also had Nick Gordon, another mixed blessing, and someone she’d known since Houston took Gordon in at age 12, when Bobbi Kristina was just eight. She raised them both.
Then the two started dating after Houston’s death. It seemed they were engaged, but not. Gordon got into trouble with the law, and with Houston’s family. A restraining order finally kept him from the hospital where Bobbi Kristina lay slowly dying.
“I always looked at them as being, you know, the brother-and-sister type. I just did not see the relationship moving in that direction,” Pat Houston told Oprah Winfrey. “… [Bobbi Kristina] had to endure many, many things. … I can only continue to be the auntie that I am, and that’s try to love her, try to give her the right advice.”
Bobbi Kristina was on life support for a few weeks. Then that was removed. She lingered for the better part of six months, stronger than the doctors thought, a tragic symbol of what celebrity unmoored from values and responsibility can create.
We never knew Bobbi Kristina. She died Sunday at Peachtree Christian Hospice in Duluth, Georgia.
The maddening part is, everyone knew this was going to happen. And as everyone also knows, it should never have been allowed to happen.