Dear Betty White,
We have never met before, at least not on this side of the lanai. But you have been one of the most important people in my life for a long time. I think you’ve played that role for many people throughout the decades you’ve been in entertainment. You have been a familiar face for millions since you first graced television screens back in the day. Your laugh and smile are contagious, and your comedic timing is unmatched. You are a one-of-a-kind gal.
You’re probably wondering why I decided to write to you, especially now that you have just passed away. What would a 26-year-old from Ohio have to say to the great Betty White? Well, it’s quite a simple answer really.
I want to say thank you.
I’m sure you’ve heard thank you from a lot of people throughout your life. I mean, it’s a part of the theme song for The Golden Girls. “Thank you for being a friend.” And you have been a friend to many people, and animals, around the world. But you have been so much more than that to me. You have been my Guardian Golden Girl. It’s kind of like a guardian angel, but much funnier.
I started watching The Golden Girls when I was in high school. I’ve always had a soft spot for sitcoms, and The Golden Girls is in my top two favorites of all time. The other show is I Love Lucy, and knowing that you and Lucille Ball were friends makes it that much more meaningful. Watching you, Rue, Bea, and Estelle episode after episode was like therapy for me, which I’ve needed a lot over my life. No matter how crappy my life was, you gals made me laugh, even after seeing an episode for the 100th time. Your show was so good that it’s impossible for me to have a favorite episode. They are all perfect.
When I was 19, my Grandma Janice passed away from lung cancer. She was the most important person in my life, and she played a huge role in my unceasing love of stories. After she passed away, I turned to The Golden Girls for much-needed comfort. I think Grandma Janice would have fit in with you girls. She was a lot like Sophia and even had a similar hairdo. I like to imagine her lounging on the lanai, making a snarky comment then immediately offering up some words of wisdom.
I’ll miss you a lot, Betty. You were a constant reminder that there is good in our world and that you shouldn’t give up on the people and animals that call it home. The way that you embraced getting older is something to admire. You never saw it as a curse or something to avoid. You embraced it and kept working like you were still in your twenties. I hope to be that way as I get older.
I’m sorry to see you go, Betty. But I’m so thankful for all that you have left behind. I’ll take the lessons that you taught and use them to make the world a better place.
Please save me a seat on the lanai in the sky.