The loss of a child is devastating for a parent, and Whitney Houston's mother Cissy is no different. But while she remains in mourning for the loss of her talented daughter last January, Cissy is very tough-minded about the decisions Whitney made that sent her down the path toward her early death from accidental drowning, heart failure and cocaine use.
"Good mothers and good fathers and good families don't always have great children," she told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie Monday, in advance of the publication of her book "Remember Whitney: My Story of Love, Loss, and the Night the Music Stopped."
"Bad people have good children. ... It's all their responsibility when they get to a certain age to choose their way," she continued. "She was taught, she knew the way."
Houston clearly felt -- and still feels -- a lot of love for her late daughter ("she and I were very, very close. She knew I loved her") but in speaking with Guthrie, she didn't want to apportion blame.
"I don't know too much about Bobby Brown," she said when asked about Whitney's ex-husband. "I don't want to talk about him. ... I know he didn't help her. I don't blame him. ... Everybody is responsible for their own actions up to a point. She was raised, she knew better, and whatever took her to that position, I really don't know."
Still, in a later interview with TODAY's Al Roker, Houston went a bit further, saying marrying Brown "wasn't the greatest idea in the world" and that "he did hurt her in a lot of ways. ... She was in love, I guess."
Cissy said she did what she could to try and pull her daughter back from the brink, but suggested that the confusing world of the music business, being called "Whitey" early on and then the marriage match to Brown led to her daughter seeking self-medication.
"She was giving and loving ... just didn't like confusion; she turned away from that as much as she could," Cissy told Roker, adding that "I really do" believe that's what led to her drug use.
In the end, whatever caused the death of Whitney Houston at age 48, the loss will never be fully repaired for her mother. "I miss her so much I can't even express it," she said, but added that she doesn't necessarily think that her daughter went before her time.
"I trust in God," said Houston. "His ways are not our ways so we have to go with that and there's nothing I can do about it."