After Whitney Houston died on Feb 11, 2012, her closest friend Robyn Crawford grew concerned for her daughter Bobbi Kristina.
In her powerful new memoir, A Song for You, My Life With Whitney Houston, excerpted exclusively in this week's PEOPLE, Crawford shares details about her life with Whitney and Bobbi Kristina.
"I know how much that young girl loved her mother and needed her mother," says Crawford. "That was all she wanted, always, was her mother and now she was gone."
In happier times, she remembers going to Bobbi Kristina's first birthday party and how much fun Whitney had when she brought her young daughter into the recording studio. Over the years, she also saw how Bobbi Kristina yearned for her mom's attention, and how her mom's drug addiction kept Whitney more and more isolated.
After Whitney's death, Crawford tried to reach Bobbi Kristina by passing along her phone number to mutual friends, hoping to hear from her. "I would have answered any questions she had, and I would have just listened," says Crawford.
But they never connected.
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Bobbi Kristina died on July 26, 2015, from pneumonia after she was found unresponsive in a bathtub and put into a medically induced coma for six months. Her death, tragically like her mother's, was related to her drug use.
When Crawford heard the news, she was heartbroken. "I felt empty," she says. "I felt like she finally got her mom all to herself."
While she does not know the details of what Whitney told her daughter about their love story, she says, "I feel in my heart that Whitney told her daughter what kind of person I am and the depths of our friendship."
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"That rumor — the speculation of our being physical — that rumor had track shoes so there's no way a young person wouldn't say, 'Mom tell me about this.' I don't know if Whitney shared that with her daughter, when she was old enough to understand and want to know," she says. "I would hope that they had the mother-daughter conversation."
Crawford adds, "I believe that Whitney told her daughter about the love and the care and the bond and the trust that we had. Whitney knew I was there for her."
And indeed she was and continues to be.
For more on Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford, pick up a copy of this week's PEOPLE, on newsstands now.