THE BLOG

Honoring Whitney Houston

02/22/2012 12:30 pm ET | Updated Apr 23, 2012

There is no doubt that Whitney Houston was a tremendous talent that shaped music in the '80s and into the 90s... a rare voice who forever raised the bar of what it means to be a singer.

There's no doubt that her death -- and certain aspects of her life -- were tragic.

And there's no doubt that the outpouring of love, tributes, and praise have been wonderful. The same is true for the playing of her songs and the posting of her videos all over the internet, even by young people who are just now hearing her for the first time.

It's just a shame that it has all happened after she died.

Especially given that what she would be experiencing today is a type of love and celebration that she never received when she was here. No one does while they're alive. It is only after they're gone that we put jealously, spite, and negativity aside and really celebrate the greatness of people and their lives. We don't dismiss or sugarcoat the truth. But we require and demand a level of respect that we simply don't while they're walking the earth.

What would it have been like for Whitney Houston to feel and experience this type of love? This worldwide celebration? What would it have been like for Kurt Cobain? For Michael Jackson? For Amy Winehouse? What difference might it have made in their lives? What difference might it have made in their choices to actively take or passively surrender them?

For me, the passing of Whitney Houston is certainly an opportunity to remember and say farewell to a true musical icon. Yet it is also -- and more importantly -- a reminder to cherish and love the people in our lives while they are alive. To celebrate them and let them know how much they mean. To put aside whatever stands between us -- whether distance, grudges, circumstances, or pride -- and show them how much we care.

Don't wait until it is too late. Call your mother and father. Call that teacher who made a difference in your or your child's life. Call your siblings, call your friends.

Call that person you haven't forgiven. Call that person you can't forget.

Reach out and let them know all that you might otherwise wait until it's too late to say.