Letterman’s Last, Rachael Ray’s Recipes, and Loss

David Letterman’s last broadcast. Rachael Ray’s five recipes. May 20, 2015, might be a tough TV day for mourners.

If you’ve watched any late-night American TV in the last 30 years, you’ve seen David Letterman on CBS’s Late Show (or in earlier years on NBC’s Late Night).  Whether you glimpsed him during rare bouts of sleeplessness or your rest depended on counting down his “Top Ten” instead of sheep, you’re probably familiar with his often irreverent and occasionally tender entertainment presence.

Like ocean waves, tax hikes, summer sun, and family genes, I took that presence for granted — until the announcement of his retirement.

Millions will tune in for Letterman’s final show.

I’m not sure whether I will or won’t.

Endings are harder now. My husband seldom watched late-night TV, but when I heard the news my thoughts ran straight to grief: “No! Dave was always on. He was on when my husband was alive. And now they’ll both be gone …”

The retirement of David Letterman and the death of my husband aren’t connected. I know that.

My moving-on-yet-still-grieving brain says otherwise.


On a different TV note, I’m definitely avoiding Rachael Ray’s “5 More Recipes to Make Before You Die segment scheduled to air this same day. I usually enjoy her show, so I’ll give you the link to the promo clip that alerted me:

When you’re missing someone who died, you don’t want to hear that food is “to die for” or be told your life will be incomplete if you don’t make a particular meal “before you die.” Such phrases highlight the absence of the deceased, who will never have the chance to taste these decadent dishes because their too-short lifetimes were incomplete.


While I’m harping about food and grief, I’ve bitten my tongue (for over a year) about a snack I saw at the Winter Park Art Festival in 2014. The deep-fried potato crisps were covered in bacon, cheese, and — who knows what else? It looked delicious, but they called it something they probably meant to be cutesy: “Heart Attack on a Plate.”

I was with another widow at the time, a woman whose husband died of a heart attack.

Not cool, marketing department. Not cool at all.

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