Authors: BeBe Winans,Timothy Willard
Â Â Â THE
I KNEWÂ Â Â
WITH TIMOTHY WILLARD
Copyright Â© 2012 by BeBe Winans
Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 134 Franklin Road, Suite 200, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027.
ELPING PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THE HEART OF
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Library of Congress Control Number: 2012941808
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Scripture quotations in this book are from the New King James Version. Copyright Â© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Published in association with Jan Miller of Dupree Miller Associates
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ISBN: 978-1-61795-084-1 (hardcover)
Cover Design: Chris Tobias, Tobias Design
Cover Photo: Michaelangelo de Battista
Interior Design and Typesetting: Kimberly Sagmiller, FudgeCreative
Printed in the United States of America
12 13 14 15 16 17 LBM 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
I dedicate this book to the loving memory of a wonderful
daughter, sister, mother, niece, cousin, and true friend.
Whitney, your life down here, though a mere forty-eight years,
will never be forgotten. You have left an everlasting mark
on a world in search of the simple beauties from aboveâ
and your voice was one of those.
As time goes on, when I hear your songs soaring across
the airwaves, I'm sure the pain will turn to laughter because
that's who you wereâa gift from God who loved to laugh.
We both knew that there was no better medicine for the soul
than laughter. Some questions will go unanswered, I'm sure,
while some answers I'll find in the dark of the night,
right when I'm not looking.
“It is my prayer and that of our family's that youÂ .Â .Â .
remember [Whitney] with the love that she gave
everyone, no matter what [was] going on.”
Speaking at the funeral
You spend enough time with someone, and there will be moments
when you catch glimpses of their true selves.
Oh, she was a different bird
Cissy Houston, Whitney's mama, spoke through her caring smile when I told her I was writing a book about the Whitney I knew. “I'm glad you're remembering her like you do, BeBe. They didn't know her. They think they knew her. You knew her.”
But Cissy knew her most of all. That's what moms do. They
youâeverything about you.
Cissy went on to tell me how her day that day was particularly hardâone of the hardest. How the sorrow can hit you when you least expect it. She wept most of the day. I told her that I was planning on attending church with her on Easter Sunday (2012). She was elated.
As we talked, I was able to make her laugh a little. The conversation took on a sweet toneâa comforting feel.
I find that love is an action word. Knowing how much time she and Whitney spent together on holidays like Easter, I wasn't trying to offer a substitute. I knew full well that nothing and no one could
replace the experience of her sweet daughter attending church with her. But the bond between our families stepped in when Whitney died.
Loss and grief don't need words; they need tender actionâa body to sit next to, a shoulder to lean on, a presence to keep the loneliness at bay.
You spend enough time with someone, and there will be moments when you catch glimpses of their true selves. In order for that to happen, we must have time together. We must let our guards down.
I spent time with Whitney. I saw her relaxâlike when she'd sing with us on stage, doing her thing and having a ball, but in a totally different context than she was used to. I saw her cry, though over the years, they were mostly tears of joyâlike when she and Bobby got married or when Bobbi Kristina was born. I saw her nervousâlike when she balked at seeing
in the theater because there was no telling what people might say. And I loved her for every genuine moment we shared.
The Familyâthe Winans familyâloved her with the same level of commitment, but each in our own way. My brother Marvin not only officiated her funeral but her wedding to Bobby Brown. My sister CeCeâlike myselfâperformed with her, visited her on tour, visited in her homeâand was there till the bitter and untimely end.
I loved Whitney like I love my three sisters: CeCe, Angie, and Debbie. And when Whitney left, I felt that sense of love even more.
I could almost taste it.
I could hear it in my mind.
But first and foremost, I could hear her in my very being: the Whitney I knew.
The pages that follow represent my attempt to continue to know my friend, my sisterâWhitney. The memories are Whitney's voice speaking to all of us. By reaching back and remembering what she said to me in the past, I not only cope with her loss, but I also give voice to someone everyone loved but few really knew.
Cissy was gracious in saying that I knew her. But so did others whom she loved and held close to her. My hope is that I can honestly portray Whitney in a light that she would sparkle in, while remaining true to the dynamic narrative of her life.
She was vivacious and unruly; she was endearing and infuriating; she was honest and private. And she lived within a level of fame that few on this earth experience. Most of all, I think that is the important thing to remember.
“She is our queen, and she opened doors
and provided a blueprint for all of us.”
My heart desires each of us to listen to her memory and see if we
can't sift through the tabloids and into the heart of our “American Princess.”