Another profound moment on The Oprah Show happened in 1998 when viewers met Jo Ann Compton. After her daughter was tragically killed, Jo Ann was stuck in her grief, and Oprah brought in Dr. Phil to help. Jo Ann told Dr. Phil and Oprah that her daughter's death "destroyed" her, and she was unable to forgive the people who killed her. "I hope they're in the same hell I am," she said at the time. "I hope they're suffering just like I am. I hope every day for them is just as bad as it's been for me."
When Dr. Phil asked Jo Ann if her daughter would want her to hurt like this, Jo Ann said that her daughter would actually be angry at her for her behavior. "So it wouldn't be a betrayal," Dr. Phil told her. "Maybe the betrayal is focusing on the day of her death, rather than celebrating the event of her life. She lived for 18 vibrant and wonderful years, and you focus on the day she died." Jo Ann responded by saying, "I never thought of it that way."
The conversation was just about to wrap up when Jo Ann began to cry, and Dr. Phil and Oprah asked her what she was thinking. "I thought after I'd made this goal, that now I could go home. I'm sorry. I was going to go home and take my life," she told them.
Dr. Phil says he knew she was not being melodramatic. "This woman was deadly, deadly serious. She had been impacted by the show to choose a different course—to have a reason to live—and that changed me in that moment. I left there thinking, 'You know what? You need to really, really pay attention every minute you're here, because you're talking about people's lives here. And sometimes it's life or death."
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Oprah Show viewer Dianne, who was dealing with the death of her mother, says hearing Jo Ann's story helped her deal with her own grief. "I saw your pain and your darkness, and I thought about how brave you were to come in that raw spot and be willing to have a light shine on it," she tells Jo Ann.