“She seemed sadder after that, like something had been taken away from her,” Houston writes.
For years, Whitney’s drug problems had been only a rumor to her mother, who writes that concerns expressed by record executive Clive Davis were kept from her by her daughter and others. But by 2005 she had seen the worst. Houston remembers a horrifying visit to the Atlanta home of Brown and Houston, where the walls and doors were spray-painted with “big glaring eyes and strange faces.” Whitney’s face had been cut out from a framed family picture, an image Cissy Houston found “beyond disturbing.” The next time Houston came to the house, she was joined by two sheriff’s deputies who helped her take Whitney to the hospital.
“She was so angry at me, cursing me and up and down,” she writes. “Eventually, after a good long while, Nippy did stop being angry at me. She realized that I did what I did to protect her, and she later told people that I had saved her life.”
Brown and Whitney Houston divorced in 2007, after 15 years of marriage. When she learned that her daughter was leaving Brown, Cissy Houston was “extremely relieved” and “thanking God so much I’m sure nobody else could get a prayer in to Him.”
Houston has no doubt that if Whitney were alive she would still be singing and making records. Houston said during her interview that she has seen “Sparkle,” a remake of the 1970s movie that came out last summer and featured Whitney as the mother of a singing group struggling with addiction. Although Cissy Houston doesn’t like movies about “drugs and all that kind of stuff,” she was impressed by “Sparkle.”
“I thought she was great in it and all the kids were great,” says Houston, who adds that the “whole movie was hard to get through.”
The book, too, was painful and her grief continues. She writes that sometimes she hears a doorbell ring and thinks it’s Whitney, or sees a vase in a different place and wonders if her daughter is around. Some nights, Cissy Houston wakes up crying, not sure at first where she is.
“But then I get up out of bed, wipe my eyes, wash my face, and lie back down to my sleep. Because that is all I can do,” she writes. “I am so grateful to God for giving me the gift of 48 years with my daughter. And I accept that He knew when it was time to take her.”