Jokingly, I used to blame Whitney Houston for my often times idyllic thoughts about love. I learned about love from Whitney’s music and she was the first entertainer who I loved. When I was younger, my mother made me go in the basement to sing “The Greatest Love of All” because she didn’t love my voice. But, when I was singing along with Whitney, I knew love was in the world.

Like many true Whitney fans, her sudden passing left me devastated and numb. Purposely, I never met Whitney because I didn’t want to spoil the perfect image I had created of her. Yet, since the late 1980s Whitney and I connected every day through her music. She made me smile and cry. She inspired me and comforted me when I was down. She was my ultimate sister-friend.

Loving Whitney wasn’t easy though, especially in the latter years of her life. I often found myself in the most heated discussions about her, defending her talent and legacy. For sure, I wasn’t a fair weather friend. If you know me, you know you never talk about my mother, my family, my friends, or, Whitney Houston. She was my girl. I didn’t care to discuss the demons she was fighting – we all have demons. If you wanted to talk about Whitney with me, it had to be a celebration of what was exceptional about her. And, there was plenty of that to talk about.

It’s very touching to see that in her death, people are giving her what she is due. She was the greatest singer of our generation with unparalleled success. She broke down barriers for Black people and women, not only in entertainment, but also in society as a whole. Although she never boasted about her charitable work, her contributions to charitable causes were countless as well as her opposition to the ills of our world, like apartheid. She was a force, both on and off the stage, that the world had not seen, and I believe we won’t see again, for quite some time.

With that said, Whitney’s sudden death and the outpouring of posthumous support and praise is yet another reminder to give people roses while they’re here to smell them. I wonder if Whitney had felt the love she is getting in her death, would she have gone down the path that ultimately led to her untimely demise. As I mourn the loss of my sister-friend, I’m reminded to give and share love with those I love today, for tomorrow is not promised.

Whitney gave good love! She was all the woman I needed. But, I know that her broken heart has found its way home. Thank you Whitney Elizabeth Houston for taking good care of my heart.  For this, I will always love you!  Rest in peace Nippy.

Wishing you love and ceaseless joy! Follow @NathanHWilliams on Twitter.