"It was probably drugs." Many people referenced her addictions and although at the time a cause of death had not been announced people knew. And that's how it was with us. Those who knew Jonathan and his struggles knew, even though I didn't announce a cause of death. I didn't have to say.
"What a waste!" I can't tell you how many times I said that, and heard it said. When someone dies young we look at the balance of life they missed out on and it causes us to be sadder for what could have been. But when it's a needless death from an addiction, like an overdose, that loss is magnified. Jonathan could have gone on to do great things. He could have continued to raise his children. He could have continued to lead the window cleaning industry in professionalism and excellence. But he didn't. He died young. He died before he fulfilled all the plans God had for his life. It was a waste of his talent, abilities, gifts and callings.
"In a way its a blessing." Unless you have struggled in addiction or watched a loved one suffer under it this comment seems cold and insensitive. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Addiction is bondage. It holds a person captive and destroys anything good in it's path. And anyone tied to that person is dragged along with them. When my late husband died, God continually told me two things. "he's free" and "your free". His death freed him from his pain and torment. The chains of addiction held him down in such a way there was no escape. Death freed him. And it freed us, not only from the effects of his struggles but also the pain and torment of watching a loved one destroy themselves day by day. Recognizing this truth does not negate your love for them. Jonathan was greatly loved. And perhaps it's that love which understands this statement most. True love sets people free, even if it means losing them.
"Truly an amazing artist." Last week I wrote a whole post on how someone's death effects the way in which we remember them. It gives us an ability to look past a person's faults to see the treasure. The world did it when Michael Jackson died, and they are doing it with Whitney Houston. I did that with Jonathan. His funeral was an amazing memorial of the man he was, the impact he made on the window cleaning industry. It was not a gossip fest of his issues, but rather a celebration of his life!
"Addiction is a horrible disease." I didn't know whitney. I didn't have to. I knew Jonathan. I saw his pain. I saw his struggles. Addiction is a horrible tragedy that destroys. It takes beautiful talented people with a purpose in this life and wastes it away. Unless we have personally had an addiction, we don't truly understand. We look at situations like Whitney, or my late husband, and we judge their choices. We say things like, "why don't they get self control", or question why they would choose drugs when they have so much! And we shake our head. But the truth is addiction has a hold that those of us on the outside will never understand. It is a disease. And we shouldn't judge, but rather pray. I believe nothing short of a miracle of God can truly free a person from addiction. So instead of judging something we have no business judging, let's pray for those caught in addiction, that they would experience a true freedom that only God can bring.
My heart aches for everyone who suffers under addiction. Every person who dies daily whose name is not known, whose talents have not yet been revealed to this world and now never will be, I think of them. And every family member who loves a person bound in chains, prisoner to drugs, I think of them. And my late husband, a man who suffered, but now is free, I think of him.