Whenever a legendary icon such as Maya Angelou passes in peace and grace, the entire world seems to come together and offer words of praise and solace. She was one of those heart-centered women, who no matter what she said or wrote was placed somewhere in the archives of our soul. She had a way with words that no other poet of her generation could surpass. She captivated each and every woman, man, and child into another dimension of living. She was a soft-spoken woman with the humblest of natures, fiercely proactive in her mission to achieve and help with many words lodged in her bones. I am constantly moved by her voice and her genuine caring of humanity, despite her own charred beginnings.
Maya Angelou said in a recent interview that she felt she had another few books left in her to write. She never rested on her laurels, or even considered herself to be a “great writer.” If anything, she desired to learn more about life and love from others, including herself. We can all aspire to model ourselves after such an amazing soul, who left a legacy of words miles long.
Her death is a reminder that new beginnings are always just around the corner. In her 86 years of living, she passed the prolific baton off to many writers and artists who yearned to have their voices be heard. She abhorred the notion of anyone keeping their personal story embedded deep within their beings. Her philosophy came from those experiences from the Deep South, where she charted her own course through the many obstacles and struggles of being raised by an unemotional mother. She loved her mother very much, yet didn’t choose to understand or be close to her. It took eons before she could reconcile and forgive her mother for who she was. As Ms. Angelou approached the elderly years herself, her mother became her inspiration and friend. Anyone who has a tense relationship with their mother, especially a woman, can appreciate taking a step back and learning to trust again, learning to open up the emotional scars that beckoned for years as mother and daughter. Perhaps the bond between Ms. Angelou and her mother, and bridging the gap they shared, have helped other mother/daughter relationships budding and rebuilding. It can all be part of this new beginning.
A road paved through sadness, despair, and longing is heightened when a poignant person such as Maya Angelou crosses over the bridge. She has touched us all with her purpose. She gives us hope through her poems and books and laughter. She had the greatest laugh. I remember watching her on a “Super Soul Sunday” with Oprah Winfrey. Two women, cajoling about spirituality and soulful connections, Ms. Angelou never took her words seriously. She almost always surprised herself with the voice that emanated from her being, but she packed a punch more than anyone of her generation. As a true humanitarian and ambassador of artful prose, she never feared her mortality. She saw it as a new beginning of life versus death, as a way to transcend those who have passed and are now being called home. Maya Angelou had a feeling that when her time was up here on earth, God would lift her up and carry her with the angels in heaven, singing gospel and rap music, teaching the children to respect and show compassion and love, and above all, to embrace each and every day as though it were your last. New beginnings have opened up like a passage from one of her stories. I have no doubt that rainbows are more colorful, clouds are more pronounced, the earth took a big breath, and we mere mortals can smile knowing her legacy will remain intact forever. Thank you, Maya Angelou for bestowing your teachings onto us. We will receive each word with open arms and look at life in a whole new way.