With just hour left of Oprah Show, Oprah and Team Harpo begin the last leg of this journey. Sheri and Oprah work hand in hand to make sure that this hour is what it should be – PERFECT. As Oprah makes the final finishing touches to the script, Sheri shares that “Nothing has hit me…I haven’t taken it all in yet.” When she does, she should be proud.
Inside Harpo, people are feeling the day. As Jenna and Brian meet with their other team members, it’s clear that the emotional energy is hard today. Tears are right at the edge and everyone is doing everything not to think about it…and hold it together. They have 55 VIP guests coming and an audience of a couple of hundred. Just a few more hours…then, they can let it out and let it go. Always, the professionals…Team Harpo is amazing.
Amidst the hugs, tears and tissues, Jenna Kostelnik holds it together probably like most of us would. Through teary eyes and a smile that you know as soon as it breaks, she will be sobbing uncontrollably. (Brian, where are you?!) Away from the stage, Jill Van Lokeren and Lisa Morin host Harpo private viewings of the show in their offices with some of our favorites – the Mori’s, Bridgette, Lindsay Feitlinger, Terry Goulder and more. “I think the hardest thing to realize is that there will never be another Oprah Winfrey Show,” Jill tells us. This and the family that they have all created…they know, it will now be different.
As Sally Lou Loveman gives her love to the last audience of the Oprah Winfrey Show, Gayle pulls out her ”GayleCam” and captures the moment and nervously talks to Oprah…telling her about all of the people that she has met in line that are part of the audience and what they say about what Oprah means to them. This is Oprah’s heart…her relationships that mean the world to her. With Kirby there as well, we see that 25 years (exactly how old Kirby is) is a lifetime…and what Oprah has done for so many…well, it’s up to us to move forward and give to others what she has done for us. Oprah tells us, “What Gayle has represented for me is not just a friend. Gayle has been my therapy. I think having someone who really understands and supports you no matter what is pretty significant. I have such respect and admiration for her as a human being.” Everyone needs a Gayle…
Just twenty minutes to go and Stedman walks into Oprah’s makeup room. “How’s it goin?” he asks her lovingly and then, we see a usually private and probably very special moment with them – as they both sit and hold hands. Having their OWN moment on this day. “Well, Stedman is accurately named. What he has been for me,” Oprah says, “Sted-Man. Steadying force field….he’s going to be there for you no matter what…Solid…and to be able to hold his hand was a steadying force for me.”
As Oprah takes her last elevator ride down alone, she shares that journey and what she was thinking. “I didn’t get nervous until I set the elevator…last time I was going to go down the elevator to do that and I could feel my heart starting to race,” Oprah shares. “Then I say, “OK what is that?’” and realized that I was taking on everyone else’s energy.” In that moment, she was able to breathe, let it go and she shares, “Just before I stepped out of the elevator, I said to myself silently, “In God, I move and breathe and have my being,” and that calmed me.” With Stedman, walking her to her last show we are almost there…the finish line.
As Oprah stands behind the LED screen, waiting for the last show to begin, we see her in that moment. Oprah tells us that she tells herself again as she walks out, “In God I move and breathe and have my being…” and takes in the moment. “I always thought of it as a love letter…I always knew that the last show would be about me saying thank you,” Oprah tells us. “The only courage you ever need is the courage to live the life of your dreams,” Oprah reminds us in her last show. Then tells the BTS cameras, “To me the most important lesson is that you are responsible for your life and if you are waiting on someone else to do something for you – to fix it, to save you, to complete you – you’re waisting your time.” Oprah continues, “You are energy and the energy that you’re putting out is coming back to you all the time. Those are the two single greatest messages for me.”
By half way through, tears and tissues are flowing. As Oprah tells us, the only time that she started to tear up when she would say how “you and the show has been the greatest love of my life.” As Sheri shares with us, “I knew as a viewer myself what that would feel like to hear from her and I could tell from the time I spent with Oprah what that would feel like for her to say that to the audience. It’s very poingnant…that a lonely lonely lonley little girl who only wanted love and to share her candy bars and notebook paper…and that child grows up to be one of the most beloved people on the planet. Well,just makes me say…there is a God.”
And so it happens as Oprah end’s her show and says, “To God be the Glory…” and walks off with grace and gratitude onto another adventure…to fill us up…to move into a bigger classroom…to bring us even more lessons…and help change the world. Joe Terry says it so well…”I’m sad…but at the same time, I’m happy to have had the honor and the privilege…” And when Sheri and Oprah hug…”I was fine until I saw Sheri,” Oprah tells us. “It was then that I got emotional…with the courage to create…and step out of the box…and she has done it with such dignity and grace and love…”
As Sadie runs to her mom’s voice…Oprah tells us that it was not planned. Just true love. “The delight was walking down the hallway and Sadie came out…that was a moment…”Oprah says. As the impromptu after party goes on and Oprah moves through everyone’s energy, she is still thinking about the show and joins Sheri for a post show meeting. “I had no idea the level and layers,” Oprah tells us, “even though everyday I experience them.” Respect. Love. Grace. Gratitude. The Oprah Show legacy.
Finally, Jack Mori puts it into perscpective for Team Harpo…”This is not the end…this is not even the begining of the end. But this is the end of the beginning.” This is just the beginning…and I am sure that all of these amazing Harpo team members will have many more chapters to write as they take this experience out into the world and share their knowledge and passion.
And as Oprah goes…and moves on with her OWN passion, she reminds us….”When I first came to Chicago I always said, “I don’t know what the future holds but I know who holds the future,” Oprah shares. “So, I feel very confident that I will be alright and that I am exactly where I am suppose to be in this moment.” To God be the glory…