Monday, January 10, 2022

Betty White: More Fabulous Than She Seems (Part 13, Final Chapter)

Chapter 11:  Growing Old


In 1987, Betty wrote, “I don’t want to fight old age, but I’m not about to invite it to live in, either. I want a nice symbiotic relationship with it, where we are totally unaware of each other.”[1]

That was an attitude toward growing old that Betty learned from her mother. Never waste time dreading the next day—or next birthday. That is just the ultimate way of being ungrateful for all the good in your life. Death is just another adventure ahead, not something to be feared. Betty found this very comforting. [2]

Betty says she avoids feeling jet-lag during her many cross-continent airline trips because she never resets her clock. She just keeps going forward as if the time has not changed. “Maybe the reason I don’t feel my age could be that I never reset my calendar either,” she thinks.[3]

“If one is lucky enough to be blessed with good health, growing older shouldn’t be something to complain about. It’s not a surprise, we knew it was coming—make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in the mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning, and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.”[4]

Betty says: “I can credit my folks for my genes. That said, I can’t get over that at this age I don’t feel this age. I’m not trying to be any younger. I’m not lying about my age. If I were lying about my age, I would say I was 89. I’m just at one of those good times in one’s life. I’m at one of the high spots. I’m healthy enough to enjoy it. I’m surrounded by friends I adore. Isn’t that kind of the best way to sign off?”[5]

At the end of her televised 90th birthday special, when Betty was finally up on stage and honored with a long standing ovation by her many friends and co-stars over the decades, she winked and blew a kiss toward the sky—thinking of Allen’s presence right there with her and thanking him for being a part of her long, fabulous, and truly amazing life.

 


White’s agent and friend, Jeff Witjas, told People, “Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever. I will miss her terribly, and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”

On December 30th, 2021, Betty White passed away in her home of natural causes. It hit fans particularly hard because it was only a few days before her 100th birthday on January 17th. People magazine had already released a special issue about Betty and featured a cover story about her in the regular edition for the week before her birthday. 

 



The People article quotes Betty: “My mother always used to say, ‘The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.’”[6]

Over the years, Betty shared a story of her mother comforting her on the subject of death. She assured Betty that there is more to experience on the other side of what we see as death. Those who have passed on now know the answers to what lies ahead.

Rest in peace, Betty. Now you know.

 


And this concludes my series on the fabulous Betty White. 

Betty White: A Celebration will still be screened at movie theaters on January 17th. 

You can participate in the Betty White Challenge by donating to your favorite animal charity or rescue organization before the 17th. I donated to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, where I volunteer regularly. What a great way to honor Betty's memory!
 

Cheerios, apples, oranges, and avocados for the bears.


[1] White, Betty, Betty White in Person, ibid, p. 101.

[2] White, Betty, Betty White in Person, ibid, p. 91.

[3] White, Betty, Betty White in Person, ibid, p. 96.

[4] Hewitt, Bill, Betty White: An Illustrated Biography, p. 94.

[5] imdb.com

[6] McNeil, Liz, People magazine, “Forever Funny,” January 10, 2022.

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