Posted: Jan 06, 2022 12:01 AM
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The enormous reaction to Betty White’s death and America’s decades-long love affair with the 99-year old caused me to consider why. What is it about her that elicited such universal affection and praise from nearly everyone? It’s not because she isn’t worthy of that kind of adoration, but it’s just so unusual for the American population to agree on much of anything, never mind the likeability of a specific personality. Then it clicked.Betty White was my grandmother. And she was your grandmother. Or what you wish was your grandmother. Or what you imagine your grandmother would be if you had one. I was blessed to have a grandmother in my life for as long as I did. She babysat me as an infant and toddler. I stayed with her many weekends through elementary school, middle, and even on occasion in high school. My grandmother was part of all my performances and graduations. She was the first one I told I wanted to marry my wife. She was there when I married my wife. She was present for the birth of all three of my kids and even watched a couple of them reach their teens. She was a critically important person in my life. When she finally died in 2018 I wrestled with the selfishness of my sadness.It was hard to be too sad simply …