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Amy's mum releasing a book in September


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#16 pearljo

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 12:29 AM

When people are so totally addicted it's very confusing to others.  You know they are great friends or whatever but in the back of your mind you think, what kind of darkness is this?  Am I going to lose this person and why won't they listen to anyone?  It is like watching them kill themselves and your only two options are to try and stand by them or just let god handle it and try not to see them too much.  But no matter which road you take, you will suffer, too.  It is complex.  I think I'm preaching to the choir here.  We have gained a lot of knowledge on addiction the hard way.  It doesn't ever get easier to understand if you've seen it many times.  I used to carry my mother upstairs to bed when I needed to do homework and I would think, I know what she is like normally and she's cool.  But then I'm dragging her ass across the carpet. The 'center of the onion' when growing up with addiction is SHAME.  Period.  There's much shame buried very deep.  I've seen seventy year old people in children of alcoholics meeting just curled up in a ball of pain.  Many times it was me.

If Amy lived and went back and forth with drinking, Reg would have paid a high price.  He would have suffered.

then you hit the see-saw.  Well, they're sick so when I yelled at them I felt guilty but how can I not yell at them?  Coming from a home like that will mess you up.  Just like coming from a "normal" home that something just seems weird in.  Truth is, practically everyone comes from parents who have issues of one sort or another.  We are all flawed but most are not on their way to a slow and useless death. 


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#17 HelloSailor

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 12:01 PM

The saddest thing in my opinion is the amount of dammage control Amy's family undertook after her death, not them revealing details now. It's interesting to compare the narrative about Janis' last contact with Amy today versus after her death (in the article Allisost posted, where she says for example that it was "enjoyable but utterly ordinary. They drank their Earl Grey and chatted, as they had done countless times before.(...) She was fine. She had what I call an “Amy look” – she normally slept a lot and often looked like she’d just been woken up").

 

I completely understand why they felt the need to erase Amy's negative image and not have her remembered just for the drugs and alcohol. It must have been so hard for them to see Amy suffering so publicly and be torn to pieces by the media and I guess it's only normal that they tried to cover up her final days. Their version of things just didn't seem to match what we know from her last few months of her life (Belgrade, etc.). Now it's starting to make more sense, and I'm happy that her family are starting to open up about her struggles with bulimia, her addictions, etc. Because it's important. Their contradictory accounts (for example Janis saying Amy looked normal and they drank tea hours before dying) are confusing, and even if I totally understand why they protected Amy's image at first, it's a positive thing that they are now adressing the issue. Because taboos are dangerous. We need to be able to talk about addiction. I don't think they're being sensationalist, and I think maybe the details of Amy reaking of booze are crucial to understanding her story. 

 

If this story, through its honesty and frankness, can have some sort of impact or help some one, we're one step closer to winning the battle. Covering up her death and saying Amy was happy and fine before she died is not helpful in my opinion.

 

Of course this book will be difficult to read. It might make Amy seem even more human and fallible than we could ever imagine, because we idolize her. We often say on this forum that we love her, warts and all, yet we sometimes wince at the harsh and ugly pain she experienced and inflicted on those around her with her addictions. But that was the reality of her life and death, much sadder than I can allow myself to believe sometimes. 


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#18 pearljo

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 01:03 PM

I have a really bad memory but was Amy on a prescription medication at the end?



#19 allisost

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 01:39 PM

How long are we going to focus on her addictions and death though? I think it's time to let it go... you can help people without using embarrassing details about people you love for the world to hear.... addiction isn't pretty, but who doesn't know that, especially about her?

I don't think it's ridiculous to say that there were possibly enablers around her. We want to have an honest discussion but no one wants to talk about that because it seemingly puts the blame on the people close to her. It is hard to deal with addiction... most people on this forum know that or relate to it.

That snippet from the book reads like a tabloid.. I'm just disappointed more than anything that that's all the media could find to report on, but hey maybe it will sell books for the foundation...ugh. Poor Amy.

 

I don't think they're being sensationalist, and I think maybe the details of Amy reaking of booze are crucial to understanding her story.

 

 

That publication definitely is though and I wish her family wouldn't do interviews with them (although I can't tell if they are just reporting). And I disagree that that specific detail is crucial... I think it's insensitive, and said in a way that would imply judgment...but of course we don't have it in context yet.


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#20 HelloSailor

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 05:16 PM

Maybe 'crucia'l isn't the right word. What I meant to say about those details being necessary is that the original narrative following her death ('Amy was happy, she wasn't depressed, she was over Blake, she was doing fine, she was normal, we drank tea and discussed family photos', etc.) was a blatant lie. The details of her not being able to walk, clearly being drunk and slurring her words are the truth. I'm personally not offended by those details and find that they help set the story straight. I can see how those details are insensitive, but I guess this book is not only a story about Amy but about the horror of seeing your child losing their battle with addiction. 

 

Saddly, her untimely death kinda sets her addiction problems in stone, and she becomes defined by them. Take someone like Keith Richards for example, whose drug taking is legendary.  He's made it into old age by some kind of miracle, and therefore when he dies will mainly be remembered as a musician. Had he died at 27, it would be all about the drugs and alcohol. I guess that's why we focus so much on her death and her addiction, because it is such a huge part of her story, despite her being much more than that and being such an amazing talented and loving human being. 

 

Of course it's no surprise that the daily mail would pick the juiciest sordid details in their article. Let's just hope Janis had a better ghost-writer than Mitch.



#21 HelloSailor

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 05:23 PM

I have a really bad memory but was Amy on a prescription medication at the end?

 

I think it was librium.



#22 shaylaxtx

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 09:16 PM

I don't believe Janis to be honest. This is a completely different account then what she gave originally. I think she's just trying to sell books. I could be wrong but her parents are always sensationalizing everything so I take everything they say with a grain of salt.
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#23 Yousaymyname

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 09:42 AM

I think we should offer some empathy to Janis, I would undertake damage control too if I was trying to deal with the death of my only daughter and avoid media backlash for not foreseeing the future. But really, as anyone who has a loved one with addiction will know, you can't force someone into hospital. It's not Janis' fault that Amy poured alcohol down her throat to a fatal level. I'm sure they'd seen her like this before and she did have a live-in bodyguard who must live with not noticing she was unconscious earlier, and I'm sure he lives with that every day of his life. It can take time to speak honestly, and I'm sure Janis didn't need the added trauma of having the media say 'she should have done this, etc, etc....' OK 


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#24 Uno

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 03:50 AM

Another book review out today ...


Amy Winehouse: 'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'


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Millions of people around the world mourned when Amy Winehouse died, aged just 27. But beyond this public outpouring of grief, a mother had lost her daughter and her friend. In an exclusive extract from a poignant new memoir, Janis Winehouse describes trying to make sense of the end of an extraordinary life



There are times when Amy catches me unawares. She’s right in front of me and in a second I am overwhelmed. This feeling comes with no warning. There is no route map for grief. There are no rules. I can’t predict what might trigger this: her face flashed up on the big screen at the BRIT Awards; a song of hers playing in the airport lounge en route to New York; the Japanese tea set she bought me from a junk shop that I stumble across while sorting through a cupboard at home; the mention of her name. Whether these moments are intensely public or intensely private, they stop me in my tracks, and I am paralysed with emotion. Yet I find them strangely comforting. They are a reminder that I can still feel, that I am not numb.

I worry about a day when that might change. I worry about the day when Amy stops being alive in my head and in my heart. I don’t want that day ever to come. I don’t think it ever will. I loved her. I will always love her, and I miss everything about her. Amy, bless her, was larger than life.

I find myself saying “bless her” in the same breath as Amy’s name a lot of the time. It’s my way of acknowledging that she was not a straightforward girl. Amy was one of those rare people who made an impact. Right from the very beginning, when she was a toddler, she was loud and boisterous and scared and sensitive. She was a bundle of emotions, at times adorable and at times unbearable. All this is consistent with the struggle she went through to overcome the addictions that eventually robbed her of her life. Amy’s passing did not follow a clear line. It was jumbled, and her life was unfinished – not life’s natural order at all. She left no answers, only questions, and in the years since her death I’ve found myself trying to make sense of the frayed ends of her extraordinary existence.


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I lost Amy twice: once to drugs and alcohol, and finally on Saturday, 23 July 2011, when her short life ended. I don’t believe any of the endless speculation that Amy wanted to die. There was no doubt that she battled with who she was and what she had become, but she dreamed that one day she’d have children and there was a large part of Amy that had a zest for life and people. But she was a girl who kicked against authority, a person who always took things that bit further than everyone else around her. She used to say to me, “Mum, I hate mediocrity. I never want to be mediocre.” Whatever else Amy was, she was anything but mediocre. She had a phenomenal talent and she pushed it to its limits; she pushed her life to its limits; she pushed her body beyond its limits. In her mind she was invincible, yet she was as vulnerable as any of us are.

I did not expect to lose Amy when I did. Since the first night I held her in my arms she had always been a constant and close part of my life. But during the worst years of Amy’s drug dependency there were moments when I thought that every time I saw her it would be the last. Amy had become a slave to her drugs and parts of the daughter I’d raised were slowly being wiped away. In the past she’d have gone out of her way to get to me, wherever I was, but as her addictions took hold she became less reliable, less able to organise herself without an army of people clearing a path for her and clearing up after her. She’d sit in front of me, her short skirt riding up her legs and her sharp bones protruding from her knees. I could see her tiny body disintegrating, but there was nothing I could do. As her mother, I was completely helpless. I could ring her and I could visit her, but I couldn’t save her. I knew that if I tried to I would lose myself too.

For some time, Amy had tried to protect me from the reality of her life. She wanted to keep me as a “mummy” figure, untainted by everything she was experiencing. Amy had looked out for me from a young age, in particular after the breakdown of my marriage to her father Mitchell, and I suspect she didn’t want to upset me. But mothers have a sixth sense and I was busy filling in the blanks. As Amy’s troubles escalated there were certain things that became more difficult for her to hide.

The ups and downs of those years took their toll on Amy and everyone around her. Loving Amy became a relentless cycle of thinking I would lose her, but not losing her, thinking I would lose her, but not losing her.

Also, by 2006 – the time when Amy’s addictions began to consume her – I had not long been officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I have suffered with the symptoms for more than 30 years, from just after I gave birth to Amy’s older brother Alex, and it is why I now walk with the aid of a stick. Amy’s unpredictability meant I lived constantly on tenterhooks, and my own health had reached crisis point too. I often caught myself thinking, “Are all these things really happening to my family?” But then my own survival instinct kicked in.

I have always been a pragmatist, but thinking pragmatically about your own daughter’s addiction is one of the hardest things a mother can do. I worked as a pharmacist until my MS forced me to take early retirement, so my medical background helped me to see Amy’s problems more clearly as an illness. Even armed with that knowledge, however, I desperately struggled to keep myself together. I relied on counselling to make sense of everything that was disintegrating around me. I needed to talk things through with someone who wasn’t emotionally wrapped up in the drama of our lives. Step by step I began to refocus my own life. I took time for myself, and although there were moments when I felt guilty about doing so, I stopped telling myself it was wrong. A new relationship with my now husband Richard, whom I’ve known since I was 12 years old, began to blossom. I am convinced that all those things, combined with my inner resolve, have given me an enormous amount of strength both during Amy’s life and after her passing.

Right up until that summer of 2011 I believed that she had turned a corner – we all did. She had been clean of drugs for almost three years and we could see glimpses of a future again, even though her life was still punctuated with bouts of heavy drinking. Nevertheless, our expectations had shifted and I felt optimistic about what lay in store for her. Instead of questioning if or when Amy was going to die, I had begun to imagine a time when she would be better. Sadly, that day never came, and I will always feel tortured by a sense of what could have been, even though I have had to accept the reality. Amy came into my life like a whirlwind and changed it for ever. Although I lived through it with her, sometimes her story does not feel real. I am a proud mother who watched her daughter achieve the success and recognition she desperately wanted. But soon that private and intense bond between us became public property. Amy’s entire life became public property and I guess, as a family, we were always in tow. Everybody who took an interest in Amy believed they knew her, and everyone wanted a piece of her, in ways we were completely unprepared for. She walked an endlessly unsteady tightrope between withdrawing from the limelight and needing to be noticed.

In that way, Amy and I were different. Throughout her life and even now, the limelight was and is a place in which I feel uneasy. I struggle with being in the public eye. I have never felt comfortable walking on the red carpet. Whether accepting awards on Amy’s behalf or raising money for Amy’s foundation – the charity Mitchell and I set up in the months after her passing – I’ve graced more stages than I ever thought possible. I do everything now with Amy in my heart.

Telling the story of my life with Amy was first mooted back in 2007 when I was approached by a literary agent and asked whether I would consider writing a book. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea, but I came away from the meeting thinking that I might like to, but only when Amy was well again. I called her and asked what she thought of the proposal. “Don’t do it, Mum,” she told me. “I don’t want people to know who I am.” Amy was happy to let the beehive and the eyeliner and the car-crash lifestyle become the only side of her the public saw, even though we knew that she was a much more complex person than that.

Back then, I never considered going against her wishes. Now life has changed. I thought long and hard before finally agreeing to tell our story, recalling happy times as well as confronting some uncomfortable truths has helped me in my own journey. It has helped me understand how our ordinary life grew in so many fantastic ways, and self-destructed in so many others. I rediscovered parts of Amy’s life too, the sort of precious memories that fade in the maelstrom of a working mother’s life and get buried by the avalanche of fame and addiction. Over time, memories get eroded, and MS makes that process worse so I wanted to put mine on record before they are lost for ever.

My family and friends, photos and Amy’s own notebooks have all helped me piece our lives back together again. In sorting through the fragments it has struck me how, at various points, Amy’s life closely mirrored aspects of my own in the years before she was born. Physically, Amy has my features. Our school reports are almost identical. We both loved adventure and, in our own ways, we both pushed the boundaries without necessarily thinking of the consequences. I quietly rebelled against a life of domesticity in 1970s and 1980s suburbia. Amy achieved superstardom by rebelling against the manufactured world of pop music. In the end, she rebelled against everything else too, and turned it inwards on herself.

Despite the obvious heartbreak, I am uplifted when I am reminded of what Amy achieved – what we achieved. I graduated with two degrees while bringing up Alex and Amy. She grabbed opportunities with both hands and realised her potential early in life. My only hope is that she would approve of this book as a frank account of her life, although I can picture her shrugging her shoulders and saying, “Mum, there’s nothing to say about me, honest.”

Today, I wear Amy’s necklace. It’s a gold Star of David that she was given as a baby. I never take it off. I wear her ring too. On some days I even wear her clothes – her T-shirts – and I feel closer to her. As I said, there are no rules for grief. There are days when I feel at peace with Amy and there are nights when I wake up crying. But I try not to dwell on the negative parts of her life, nor on how her death devastated my family. I keep going, as I have always done, busying myself with anything I can. It seems to be the only way I can get through each day.

I celebrate Amy’s talent and appreciate the great gift she gave to the world. It will live on well after I and my family have gone. The Amy Winehouse Foundation, too, has already begun to make a difference to the lives of other children who, for whatever reason, are set on a wayward and downward path in life. I choose not to mourn Amy. I have her albums and a live concert she performed on my iPod. Hers is the only voice that spurs me upstairs and on to my exercise bike to go through the workouts I do to alleviate the discomfort of my MS. I’m not sure I’d get there otherwise. There are moments, though, when I hear the nakedness of her voice and I wonder how much the world understood of Amy’s vulnerability.

She was a singer, a superstar, an addict and a young woman who hurtled towards an untimely death. To me, though, she is simply Amy. She was my daughter and my friend, and she will be with me for ever.µ

Extracted from 'Loving Amy', by Janis Winehouse (Bantam Press, £18.99), which is published on Thursday. To buy it for £16.99 free P&P, call 08430 600030 or go to independentbooksdirect.co.uk. Proceeds from the book will be donated to The Amy Winehouse Foundation. © Janis Winehouse 2014

http://www.independe...my-9719515.html


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Amy, if you are up there listening, thank you for sharing the incredible soundtracks of your life ...

#25 allisost

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 04:13 AM

So happy to read that. It looks like it's written far better than what I remember about the extract from Mitch's book.

Sorry bout my cynicism... I have always had empathy for Janis (especially), but the initial article just rubbed me the wrong way... dumb daily mail.


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#26 HelloSailor

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 08:52 AM

Yep, definitely better written than Mitch's book, what a relief.

 

I love Janis. I really think she's underrated (by that I mean who she is will help us better understand who Amy was. Amy had a strong woman to look up to when growing up, and I'm sure Janis shaped Amy in more ways than we suspect). I can't wait to read this book. 


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#27 HelloSailor

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 08:53 AM

and to see new photos too, how exciting!! (that photo of Janis holding Amy as a baby, what a beauty!)


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#28 LaPeep

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 07:44 PM

A person can be many different things to different people. Janis is going to show us the side of her relationship from a mothers point of view. So far what I have read it seems very insightful. As some parents never really know their own children and what makes them tick
"I don't know her, I never met her, and when I saw that pic, I thought, 'That's me!' But then I found out, no, it's Amy........Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes

#29 LaPeep

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 06:36 PM

It is not on usa amazon site. Also does the kindle version come out at the same time as the hardcover or later?
"I don't know her, I never met her, and when I saw that pic, I thought, 'That's me!' But then I found out, no, it's Amy........Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes

#30 allisost

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 06:50 PM

It is not on usa amazon site. Also does the kindle version come out at the same time as the hardcover or later?

 

 

I might be wrong but I don't think you can buy the UK kindle version because you probably have to register your kindle with a UK address.. not sure though. I wonder when it will be released in the U.S... I don't see it promoted on the Foundation site yet.

 

oops... it is on the UK Foundation site






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