Countless celebrities visited to confess their sins, push their mea-culpa memoirs, and seek absolution or redemption.
What has helped make her all the things she is? It’s the two things she’s not: a wife and mother. A lot of ambitious women will say they had to make a choice: They could be a CEO or get married and have kids but most assuredly not both. With Oprah it seemed a whole other matter entirely. She’s like the religious leader who forswears marriage and children to better serve her flock. Perhaps she made a sage choice. Unlike many wives, she tended to get the last word. Unlike many mothers, she had countless followers always willing to take her suggestions—be your best self, find your own power—as commandments.
Oprah’s final show made it difficult to avoid ecclesiastical comparisons. “Amazing Grace,” she told her rapturous audience, “is the song of my life.” “This was what I was called to do,” she said at another point. She also referenced the hand of God and the presence of God, offering prayers of gratitude “for the privilege of doing the show,” talking about her “yellow-brick-road of blessings,” and signing off for the last time with hands raised in benediction and a fervent “God be the Glory.” Even the heavenly host might find this host a tough act to follow…