Oprah Winfrey on Her Emotional Goodbye With Her Mother: ‘She Knew It Was the End’
13th December 2018

Oprah Winfrey has finally opened up about her mother’s final moment in life. Weeks after Vernita Lee passed away at the age of 83, the former host of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” recalled the final days she shared with her dying mother, revealing that the latter knew it was the end of the road for her.

The TV titan looked back into her tender conversation with her mother in an interview with PEOPLE. “I sat with my mother. I said, ‘I don’t know if you’re going to make it. Do you think you’re going to make it?’ She said, ‘I don’t think I am,’ ” she spilled. “I started telling all the people who cared about her that, ‘She knows it’s the end, so, if you want to say goodbye, you should come and say goodbye.’ ”

Oprah additionally disclosed that she tried to find a way to say goodbye to her mother in a self-help book. “In hospice care they have a little book about the little conversation,” she said. “I thought, ‘Isn’t this strange? I am Oprah Winfrey, and I’m reading a hospice care book on what to say at the end.’ I just thought, ‘What is the truth for me? There isn’t going to be an answer in a book. What is it that I need to say?’ I was praying for a way in.”

After a few days, she was finally able to have a heart-to-heart conversation with her mother with the help of Joshua Nelson‘s “How I Got Over”. She explained, “I could see that it opened her a little bit, because my mother’s been a very closed down person. I could see that the music gave me an opening to say what I needed to say.”

On what she told her mother, she recalled saying, “Thank you. Thank you, because I know it’s been hard for you. It was hard for you as a young girl having a baby, in Mississippi. No education. No training. No skills. Seventeen, you got pregnant with this baby. Lots of people would have told you to give that baby away. Lots of people would’ve told you to abort that baby. You didn’t do that. I know that was hard. I want you to know that no matter what, I know that you always did the best you knew how to do. And look how it turned out.”

She also remembered telling her mother, who suffered from diabetes, “to do whatever your body tells you to do. Nobody’s going to force you to do what you don’t want to do.” She added that she further told her, “You made the best decision for you, but now your body’s shutting down. This is what’s happening. Your kidneys have shut down. Your organs are going to shut down. What you want it to be, what I want it to be, is as peaceful as possible.”

Describing the moment as “sacred and beautiful,” the “Selma” actress went on to say, “I feel complete.” She additionally encouraged others to do the same, “Say the things that you need to say while the people are still alive, so that you are not one of those people living with regret about what you would’ve, should’ve, could’ve said.”

Vernita passed away on Thanksgiving Day, November 22 in her home in Milwaukee. When news of her passing broke out days later, TMZ reported that a private funeral has already been held. Shortly after, Oprah posted a thank you note on Instagram that read, “Thank you for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee’s passing. It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at peace.”

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