Monday, July 25, 2011


I'm sure you have heard the news about Amy Winehouse.  If you haven't, well, she died of a drug overdose this weekend.  It's truly sad, but not surprising.  Which might be the saddest part of it all.  She died from addiction, and no one is surprised because we all saw that one coming just around the bend.

I wasn't overly phased by the news on Saturday.  I'm not a huge fan of her music, and I'm certainly not a fan of the public persona she had adopted.  But more importantly, I was preoccupied on Saturday with more important, better things.  My husband's cousin was getting married.  I was adding another in-law to my little club of outsiders, of which I was the sole member for the longest time (four years on Thursday!!).  My club added it's second member a mere eight weeks ago, and now here we are a club of three!  I love my cousin-in-law, and am so excited for his new wife - a wonderful young woman, who obviously adores her new husband and puts up with all the rest of us.

Melissa puts up with the rest of us.  My husband's family is a lot to take in.  They are inclined to drink to excess.  Beyond excess.  They are inclined to drink to oblivion.  This family can be difficult to be around.  As the drama and emotions begin to spill over, as the wine begins to flow with reckless abandon.  As loving as they each are, they are overwhelming, emotional and dramatic.  It is a drama that enters your veins and, like poison, slowly takes over rational thought.  Drama feeds on drama, and in this family the drama is well fed, its thirst well satiated. 

Russell Brand wrote a beautiful and moving article, reflecting on the passing of Amy Winehouse, as well as his relationship with addiction:
"Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there."
We all know drunks and junkies.  We all do.  I do.

Amy Winehouse touched the lives of so many, who put up with her antics.  I'm sure she had loved ones who tried to make her go to rehab (and she said, "No, no, no!").  I'm sure she had loved ones who tried to reach out to her, to keep her safe.  And I'm sure she had loved ones who were simply too tired to try any longer.

I watched this weekend as a lovely wedding and reception turned into a raucous after-party.  Full of emotion.  Full of drama.  More drama than should be invited to a wedding.  I wish I could say that I didn't, in some way, add to the drama.  I did.  I wasn't the worst culprit, but there I was making a scene.  Over something as stupid as pizza. 

I love my husband's family.  They are my family.  And I worry about them.  I worry for their health.  I worry for my relationship with them.  I worry for Laura's relationship with them.  I heard about Amy Winehouse and was not surprised.  Then I read Russell's beautiful words and felt tears well in my eyes.  How much can I do for Nate's family?  How much can I do for myself?

"We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to [addiction]. Not all addicts have Amy's incredible talent. Or Kurt's or Jimi's or Janis's. Some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill."