When I learned that Maya Angelou had passed away, I had to take a moment…I was in disbelief, she was not supposed to leave this Earth yet! I know that everyone has their time, but Queen Maya seemed like one of those souls who would shine forever. She is indeed still shining, but not in the physical anymore…her soul will always live though. I spent some time with a close friend over the weekend, watching a tribute done for Maya and I learned much more about her that evening than I ever knew…and then more love for her just filled my heart. Her voice was like a warm pillow that I could lay my head on, her words so poignant and elegant. She knew just what to say, and I enjoyed reading her poems as a teenager and then later in my life. I had many favorite poems written by Maya, but “Phenomenal Woman” hung on my bedroom wall throughout my life and as I take a quick glance to my right, I see it, still hanging on my wall.
I have three women who I have dubbed “The Greats” in my life, three very verbal, poetic, strong and beautiful women who would be my mirrors in my writing journey; Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez. I remember reading their poems as a young girl and being so enriched by their words. Their poems were their thoughts, their stories, their inner most being as they attempted to navigate through this life and I felt such a connection to their words. Writing poems was the same for me and it still is a deep part of the way I express myself. Maya Angelou’s poems were like refreshing waters, Nikki Giovanni’s poems were like music to my soul and Sonia Sanchez’s poems spoke to me about life.
How beautiful it is to write and share a piece of your soul with the world in poems, it is one of the most intimate acts of love one could truly express. I’m so thankful for the legacy that Maya Angelou has left to this world, she touched many with her grace and humbleness. She loved so many and hated no one. She didn’t tolerate ignorance on any level, and she had such a classy way about her. I didn’t know that she sang in her earlier years, and danced as well. I didn’t know that she sank into a depression when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated but she did. Those are some of the things about her life that I didn’t even know. I knew she was “America’s poet,” but she was even more. She was a survivor, from a very young age and she was a compassionate, empathetic person who embodied forgiveness on a level that spoke volumes to her character. She leaves us now with her words, her many books that she has written and her sweet smiling face as memories to remember her by. I will always have a deep respect and admiration for Maya Angelou and I will embrace her for years to come; She will never be forgotten.