I don’t know why I’ve felt drawn to scour YouTube videos and online articles about the death of Amy Winehouse, but I have. I’ve become engrossed in the life of this girl whose rebel facade supposedly wasn’t an accurate representation the sweet and giving person she was, and who (according to testaments from those who knew her) wanted desperately to be a wife and mother and who really didn’t care much about fame.
Some of the comments I’ve come across on public forums in response to her death astound me. There is a camp of people who have been so quick to judge and criticize her for her well-publicized struggle with drugs and alcohol, which—though it has yet to be determined pending the results of a toxicology report—may have led to her sudden and shocking death.
It’s easy to judge people. It’s easy to say with false reassurance that we would never hit such low points. I have to remind myself that the truth is, when looking at another person, we don’t know the crosses they bear, or the pain that they endure, or the situations that ultimately lead to their battles with addiction. I pray that I should never become so prideful as to assume that I am “above” any misfortune.
When I viewed the videos of Amy’s last live performances in June, I watched a woman-turned-little girl who looked defeated, helpless, and who was in visible pain on stage. It was hard to watch.
Ultimately, these people need our prayers and our help, if they are willing to accept it. Phil Callaghan, national president of the Young Christian Workers, had the right idea when he said, “I hope Amy’s death has highlighted further the need for support and help for young people with addictions, especially in the Church.”
We all struggle. We all fall. In most cases, our battles are not public, and our battle scars are not visible. Instead of judging people for their mistakes, I’m making a renewed effort to pray for them. And to pray for the repose of the souls of those who tragically don’t make it.