Today is the day I have been dreading for a year now, the last day the Oprah Winfrey show will air. Two days ago, while at physical therapy, a group of us were glued to the screen with tears rolling down our faces as we shared our feelings about saying goodbye to the woman who has become all of our best friend, our sister, our aunt and the person we have all aspired to be.
It hit me that afternoon that, like so many of us, this show has been a staple throughout my entire life. When the woman next to me asked how long I had been watching, I answered, "Since I was eight." At my reply, the kind woman's face lit up as she exclaimed, "You've been watching the show since it first started! Your entire life!" It hadn't hit me until that moment, but it's true. I have been watching Oprah all of my life, or at least for as long as I can remember. Now I will readily admit here that I may not have been your average little girl. When other kids got off the bus and jumped on their bikes to ride to the park, I raced home by 4:00 every afternoon to hear what used to be the intro to Oprah, "Boop boop boo boo boop boop." (Just thinking about that tune brings tears to my eyes.)
In a small town that had next to no exposure to what was beyond our little county lines, Oprah showed me the world. Exposing me to issues of diversity, prejudice and awareness, Oprah inspired me to stand up for the things I believed in. As cheesy as it may sound, and I fully recognize that it indeed does, Oprah and her show are part of why I am the person I am today and I know I'm not alone in feeling this same way. Since I moved to Vegas, I haven't been as avid a viewer as I used to be (I'm sorry, but 2:00 is just too early for Oprah), but as I told my sister the other day, "I just like knowing she's on even if I can't watch her."
I have the very strong suspicion that I will soon be the owner of many an Oprah boxed DVD set, but - for me - Ms. Winfrey will always be playing in my heart come four o'clock. To Oprah herself, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Without you, none of us would know how to distinguish the "ugly cry" or realize that Tom Cruise truly is a crazy couch jumper. Thank you, not only for 25 years of entertainment, but for igniting the desire in all of us to be better, to be kinder, to listen harder, to give more and to dream bigger. There will never be another like you.