In case you haven’t heard, The Oprah Show is ending.

I secretly wish The Oprah Show coming to an end was a little bit LESS of an event. I will watch next Monday and Tuesday as tens of thousands of people gather in a STADIUM to celebrate, but what I’m really curious about is Wednesday’s show–the final one–the one they claim they haven’t even planned. Yes, famous people love Oprah, but that’s not why I love Oprah. I have grown tired of the last few minutes of the Oprah show lately–celebrities going on and on about Oprah. Do I care how Jennifer Aniston feels about Oprah ending? Not one bit.

I have unabashedly loved Oprah since I was about 13yrs old. This is way too young to be watching a show like this. I would come home from school, sit in our kitchen with the “mini” tv, eat a granola bar & watch Oprah. I can’t say that I’ve watched every day since, but I do remember recording it on my VHS tapes (imagine=a life without DVR!). There is absolutely nothing like her on TV. Who can get away with having a BOOK CLUB meeting on air? Oprah is a complete nerd, and I love her for it!

Oprah calls herself a teacher, and she is most definitely a great one. She introduced me to Bob Greene–who wrote about healthy eating/exercise. I wasn’t connecting that eating 3 tacos at Taco Bell daily & slurping it down with a Dr. Pepper was NOT good for me. But his book helped transform me into someone with some knowledge about how to take care of myself. I started walking after I read his book, and then running, and now RACING!

She introduced me to Marianne Williamson, who writes so eloquently about living a spiritual, loving, forgiving kind of life. While everything she writes/says doesn’t resonate with me, I have never felt so in tune with someone’s writing about life before–like finally I was reading something that made sense–that allowed me to see a greater perspective and to appreciate the love in my life (in all forms).

I had a gratitude journal by the time I was in college, thanks to Oprah also having a gratitude journal. While other people were doing tequila shots at spring break, I was (well, I was also doing that, but also) diligent in thinking of 5 things to be thankful for each day.

I read before I watched Oprah, but I also admit to buying all her book club books as well (though of course tried to rip the sticker off, so I wouldn’t be taunted by friends). I’ve never been part of a real book club, so I enjoyed watching the conversations on TV. Not all of them were favorites, but I remember reading Wally Lamb & not being able to get enough (please write more novels soon).

But mostly, I’ve been so touched by the stories being told on the show. Hearing other people’s stories is always such a great lesson. It allows you to open your mind, to lower your guard, to think about things in a new way. It’s no different than a great documentary. And Oprah is incredibly talented in bringing this TRUTH out in people. She gets right down to the point. You see amazing trials that people go through & yet their ability to get through them with grace and courage, and –for the 20 or so years that Oprah has been a part of my day–it continues to touch me & hopefully change me for the better.

Of course you can’t become this BIG (I’m not talking literally, folks) and not become a character of sorts, and I embrace that side of her, too–her ridiculousness, her trips to Australia, her road trips with Gayle, etc–the goofiness of it all. The over-the-topness of it. Heck, I’m having a Goodbye Oprah BBQ to celebrate the ridiculous!

But the truth is, I’m very sad about it ending. I will be a mess on Wednesday when the show ends. It’s like a great teacher that you’re moving on from (a teacher you’ve had for 20 years). Who will be there to inspire you on a daily basis? To make you see things in a new way? If she looks into the camera and starts talking to ME & crying, you can bet I’ll be clumped into a ball & weeping. I can’t take it Oprah!!! I don’t care if you have your OWN network. IT’s not the same!!!

I know it’s silly to be touched so deeply by a TV show. But like any kind of entertainment/art that has inspired me, this is no different. I know I would not be the person I am today without the show (and I can’t say that about Felicity, although man–did I LOVE that show). And as a person, to see where she came from and where she is now–it’s incredible. Some people talk about how scary Oprah because of the “power” she yields. It’s so ridiculous that someone who preaches love, acceptance, being oneself, giving back, etc–is the one we should fear. I think it’s one of the greatest examples of how power can be utilized in positive ways.

I watched her show yesterday about a mother dying of cancer who created hundreds of videos for her daughter to watch after she passed away. It was amazing to see this woman speaking about how grateful she was to have the time that she had on earth–how lucky she was to have her family and friends and all the love, and it was all very typical for an Oprah show. It makes you stop complaining for an instant about the things that were tough for you that day. You see how amazingly strong and graceful someone can be as they are on the way out of the world and probably feeling incredible pain, and again, it changes your perspective. Is it a little sentimental?–of course, it’s Oprah! But you won’t find this stuff on any old T.V. show. Oprah, her producers, her team–they’re brilliant at what they do, and Wednesday is going to be no fun for all the fans out there who feel the same way.

Oh, and yes, of course I’ll be watching the OWN network. Are you kidding?

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