Last Saturday, Whitney Houston’s funeral was held in the same Newark church where she sang in the choir as a child, and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey ordered the flags lowered to half-staff. Critics deluged him with mail and tweets’ saying it was wrong to honor a drug addict; that it set a bad example for youth saying you can be an abuser and still be idolized.

I applaud the governor’s decision, and I am saddened by her early loss. This astoundingly talented woman could not stop killing herself; she never believed she could live happily without the substances she abused. As hard as she tried she could not escape the seduction of drugs as answers to whatever she faced. I lament that she gave up her freedom; if we are to be successful in life it’s because we took responsibility for finding the right solutions to our problems.

Whitney Houston is not the first idol to have died from chemical addictions; the seduction of drugs and alcohol took Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendricks, and Janis Joplin (among many others). They all died from their addictions, but it doesn’t diminish the brilliance of their contributions, nor does it minimize what they leave behind.

On the day they buried her in New Jersey, I sat back and listened to her sing Amazing Grace, she belted out the tune and it brought tears to my eyes.
Reminded me not only of her wonder, but her message; we don’t have to be blind before we can see, and we don’t have to die to have our fears relieved.
A flag at half-staff for Whitney was a wonderful tribute; I would have liked a bagpiper…Thank you Whitney, you were an Amazing Grace.