The show closed with a shot of Oprah picking up one of her beloved pooches and walking down a darkened hallway. Suddenly the TV shifted to WYFF News and a story about a missing woman.
Life has already moved on. And it feels so weird that I need to sit for a minute.
It feels like someone took down a traffic light that has been at the same corner for 25 years and you have to adjust your driving, or your favorite minister has retired and you’re trying to figure out whether to change churches.
Oprah Winfrey is gone.
She says she’s not really gone. She’s headed over to her own network. And since she has failed at nothing she has tried in her career, she will make a success of that.
But that daily conversation that was unprecedented in history is over. The Guiness Book of World Records stat for largest conversation will remain for a long time. Yes, more people watched Oprah say good-bye than the State of the Union (60 million vs. 26 million). And weekday afternoons won’t be the same.
Here’s what I wish for Oprah: What she wished for us: To live our best selves, to give to everyone what you want to come back to you and to wake up every day joyful at where you’re headed.
I had wanted to write her a letter, to tell her thank you for the times that needed a word of gratitude. I never did. But she had enough from millions of others to know that she made a difference.
I had wanted to make some suggestions about OWN:
Perhaps the syndicate would have taken a boatload of money to let her out of the contract that would have allowed her to do the final season of her signature show on her signature network.
Perhaps she could do a daily introduction of a new talk show, just so people could get that few minutes of her that they so crave. (I was available for that one).
Perhaps she’d found a publishing company so, instead of suggesting books for people to read, she’d publish books for people to read. (My book was available for that one.)
But Oprah doesn’t need advice from me. All Oprah needs is what she has had: the loyalty of fans whose lives she changed, whose spirits she lifted and whose laughter she elicited with ease.
Don’t know about you, but I’ll follow her over to OWN. After 25 years of joy and heartbreak, reflection and introspection, it’s the least I can do.