Here’s the best thing about listening to someone’s story: You think you know them. You know their name. You know their face and their voice. Maybe you’ve read their history as reported by Wikipedia and Buzzfeed. You can cut each of People Magazine’s 25 things you didn’t know about them into little strips and hold them in your hand. You find yourself on the I Am Second website looking at a thumbnail of them in black and white, frozen in place. You hit play, and even as the first few notes of music play, you think you know what you’ll hear. Then, they start speaking. And right there, something happens. They’re telling you their story, and you’re listening.
As they talk, all the things about them that your mind had gathered up are somehow forgotten in a pile beside you. Suddenly, none of them feel as important as the thing that’s happening now as you listen because being heard is powerful. Hearing someone tell their own story in their own words is profoundly different from a collection of facts and rumors and assumptions all jumbled together. It transforms them into someone whole – someone beautiful, valuable, complex. Someone who can speak for themselves.
Here are some things we know about Kathie Lee Gifford:
She has worked as an actor, talk show host, tv presenter and singer/songwriter Thank you, Wikipedia.
She was married to her husband Frank for 29 years until his death in 2015 Thanks, People Magazine.
When Kathie Lee Gifford wakes up this morning, the biggest struggle in her day will be loneliness. She’ll get out of bed and walk through the big, open house built of brick and wood and memory, and for a minute, all she will feel is lack – the absence of her most loved. But, here’s something else we know about Kathie Lee: when it comes to struggle, she stays in the fight. The battle between hopelessness and joy is one she’s fought and won many times over because for her, joy is non-negotiable.
This is who Kathie Lee Gifford is. We know because she told us her story. And because we listened. We’re so glad we did. You will be too.