I mourned with the rest of the world when we lost so many shining lights in 2016 – David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, just to name a few. And while it hurt to see them go and I felt cheated by their early passage from this world, it was a death in 2017 that brought tears to my eyes.

Mary Tyler Moore died Jan. 25 at the age of 80. I saw a few posts on Facebook early that morning that said she was on life support, and then what seemed like seconds later, I saw the news that she had died. Almost immediately my throat tightened and I felt sick. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I think if I hadn’t been at work, I would have let go and cried. Hard. 

She was the big sister I also wished I had. While I thought she was funny on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the early ’60s, it was her own show that debuted in 1970 that drew me to her. I was in 7th grade, and I had so many aspiring thoughts of what I wanted to be when I grew up. There was Mary – with the cool job at the TV station, a professional woman living on her own in the big city, living in a cool apartment, having amazing and quirky friends. Surely, this was THE dream life – what could be better than this?

And it didn’t hit me until this morning that there was a part of Mary that has stayed with me through today. In that awesome apartment of hers, one thing stood out above all others – the letter M on the wall. When I moved back to San Antonio in 2005 and bought a condo, one of the first things I bought was my own letter A to hang on the wall. And then a few years later, I happened upon the letters A and C sitting together on a table in an antique store. How could I pass by and not buy them?

The life she portrayed on TV was a beacon of light for young girls, actresses, feminists and professional businesswomen. She was all that and more to me.

Thanks, M.

Love, A.


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