It was the moment I had dreaded for years, the moment we all knew we’d eventually see but still held out hope that it somehow wouldn’t come. But it did, and it came exactly as I figured it would. I work nights, so I always had the feeling I’d get woken up with the awful news in the middle of the day. And that’s what happened. I was rousted from my sleep by my crying sister and was told that we had lost our Betty. Well, the shock of the news has mostly worn off in the nearly 48 hours since hearing it. But it still doesn’t seem real. And it likely won’t for quite some time.
I’ve given myself the task of saying a few words to try and sum up how I and how just about anyone reading this feels about Betty White. But how does one find the words that will do justice to a woman who had an amazing career and lived an equally incredible life? How can I, in the course of a few hundred words, epitomize what Betty has meant to me and to millions upon millions of people? The answer to both those questions is simple. I can’t. It can’t be done. But I’ll do my best.
Betty White was pure class, as an actress and even more so as a human being. Whether she played the man-hungry happy homemaker on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a naive farmer’s daughter on The Golden Girls, or a no-nonsense caretaker of a house in Cleveland, she always did it with grace and elegance. She could make the most inappropriate jokes during interviews, but that only made us love her more. Because, again, she never lost her class, her grace, her poise, or her elegance.
By all accounts, the real Betty was nothing like any of the above mentioned roles. She was married three times, but the third time was the charm. She had found the love of her life in Allen Ludden. And while his death from cancer had ended their earthly union many years before it should have been, they were only married for just under eighteen years, he was her everything and she was his. She played what some might call a total dummy as Rose Nylund, but as Rue McClanahan once said, Betty White was nothing but brains. Just look at her countless appearances on game shows to get a glimpse of how intelligent she was. And she certainly wasn’t anything like her Elka character from Hot in Cleveland. She was one of the very few people that was universally loved and admired by fans and colleagues alike.
Betty White passed away on New Year’s Eve in 2021, a mere seventeen days short of what would have been her 100th birthday. It’s commonplace to say that anyone who lived to be 99-years-old was lucky to have lived such a long life and to have enjoyed such terrific health for most of those 99 years. While it’s true, somehow with Betty, it seemed like it wasn’t enough. For a woman who had flawless comedic timing, this is the one time her timing was just a little bit off. We “only” got 99 years. In reality, though, we can consider ourselves blessed that we got more of and more from Betty White than any of us deserved.
It’s devastating to think of the fact that we now have to refer to Betty White in the past tense. It’s upsetting to think that in just a few weeks, we’ll all be saying that it would have been Betty’s 100th birthday and not that it IS her 100th birthday. I hate that I ever had to title a post “Remembering Betty White.” But while she may not be here in the physical sense any longer, her spirit will live on in all of us forever.
We can take comfort in a few things, even as we still work to process what has happened. We know that she and Allen are finally together again. We know that her legacy will live on until the end of time. We know that we can go back and watch countless television episodes, interview clips, and movie scenes featuring Betty. And finally, we know that Betty is at peace. She said numerous times that she wasn’t afraid of dying and was even curious to know what comes after a person has lived. As unfortunate for us as it is, she now knows.
I know it’s often presumptuous to assume what people are thinking. But I don’t think there will be many people who will fault me for speaking for everyone when I say that we loved, and will always love Betty White. I wrote on my Facebook timeline after hearing the news that her most iconic role was arguably Rose Nylund. And the first name fits. Roses are seen by many to be the most beautiful and regal of flowers. And she was, is, and will always be OUR rose and the queen of all our hearts.
Feel free to share your favorite memories of Betty White in our Facebook group or on our page. Once again, I think I can speak for just about anyone reading this when I say that we love you Betty White, always and forever. You will never be forgotten. You will always be in my heart and soul. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for all the years of entertainment you gave me. Thank you for just being you. Thank you for all the memories you’ve spoiled me with. And of course, thank you for being a friend.