Guest column by Jeannie Bertoli, Ph.D.
Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known as “Dear Abby” died Jan. 16 at 94 years old. She spent more than 40 years dispensing her wisdom to us all in our times of curiosity, and in times of need. She helped us with etiquette, manners, relationships, and self-esteem – a woman of generosity and grace.
She was a pioneer in a field I have come to love so dearly. In a world of confusion, she brought her light, and offered the best she could. She was not a licensed psychotherapist, but a contemplative thinker and caring soul, reaching out to be of assistance.
I find myself now standing on her shoulders with my call-in radio show “I Want a Better Life.” I am grateful for the path she carved, for the foundation she laid. People are not so reticent to ask for help – regular people with regular problems – thanks to her. Most people know that we all need someone to turn to – someone who is not in our lives and with their own agendas, someone with a caring heart and a desire to be of service.
Thank you for your years of work and devotion to the public who knew they could lean on you and you would be there. May I continue in that vein and aid those who seek assistance. May I pick up that baton, in my own way, and be a regular source of light. Thank you for having the courage to carve this path. We are all better for your life and your work.
Jeannie Bertoli, PhD., is a Santa Barbara-based teacher and author who worked as a marriage and family therapist for 11 years in Washington, D.C. She now hosts a call-in radio show online at blogtalkradio.com/IWantABetterLife.