My Mother, My Inspiration

The popular broadcaster pays tribute to the one person she'd most like to interview.

By Robin Roberts, New York, New York

As appeared in

Mom wasn’t up to hosting Thanksgiving, so I asked her to visit me in New York. Diane Sawyer, my dear friend and colleague, was having people over and invited us. “We don’t have to go, Mom,” I said. “We can do something small.”

“I want to go,” Mom said. She has never been shy about meeting people.

At dinner we went around the table and everyone shared a reflection. Mom, it’s all right, I thought. You don’t have to say something so soon after Dad’s death.

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Right there at the table Mom began to sing in a soft, true voice, “By and by, when the morning comes, when the saints of God are gathered home...”

At the chorus another beautiful voice joined in. Diane’s. “We’ll tell the story of how we’ve overcome, for we’ll understand it better by and by.”

The comfort of Mom’s faith was so strong I felt it too. Even more so a few years later when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I woke up from surgery and saw her sweet face looking at me. She’d been praying for me.

She held my hand, stroking it as only a mother can, and I knew the healing process had begun.

Remember how I said Mom would be too embarrassed to be interviewed on Good Morning America? She says it’s because her book isn’t about her as much as all those who’ve helped her along the way. And I mean all.

When I was home for New Year’s, Mom dictated the acknowledgments to me. She went on and on. “You don’t have to mention everyone you’ve ever met, you know,” I said.

“These people are important to me. I can’t leave anyone out,” she insisted.

Then I went back to New York and she called me and added more names! I was about to tell her to stop when it hit me. Why put a limit on gratitude?

Mom’s right. We sing the melody to our life’s song, but the people who touch us provide the harmony. And underneath it all, guiding us and supporting us, is the rhythm of our faith.

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