I remember vividly looking for something on TV while I was spending endless hours nursing my first born child, Claire in the mid 80’s. I’d watched Phil Donahue from time to time but his show ended and was replaced by Oprah Winfrey. I loved her instantly and I felt, like so many others, that she was like one of us. She was someone I knew I could comfortably invite into my own living room. She was real. She was funny. She was warm. I absolutely loved the way she connected with her audience and her guests. I was hooked. Everyday from 4-5 for probably 20 years, I turned on Oprah. I watched how the show evolved from a standard talk show with a bit of a twist, to what Oprah stands for now. I confess I’m a personal growth junky so I would be riveted to the TV with the many guests she had who taught us how to live a better life.
My kids have grown up with Oprah. Part of their childhood memories will be remembering me turning her on every single day. When my daughter graduated, someone wrote in her yearbook: “I’ll always remember coming to your house after school and watching Oprah with you and your mom.” Many of her regular guests have become household names. Like thousands of other people, I started a book club after Oprah started her book club. I learned what a life coach was from watching her interview people like Cheryl Richardson, Debbie Ford and many others. I became a life coach myself.
I haven’t been watching Oprah as religiously as I did before because when Dr. Phil started his show, I felt I couldn’t justify watching TV for 2 hours straight, during the the afternoon. On Wednesday, she’ll be airing her very last show. It’s going to mark the end of an era. I’ll be watching the last few shows for sure and I know her parting words will stay with us forever. In some way, Oprah has touched us all. We’ve cried with her, laughed with her and grown with with her. There’s much more of her to come, but afternoon TV won’t be the same without her.