Like many of you, I was deeply saddened by the death of Maya Angelou. Tears welled up in my eyes; I felt like I lost a member of the family. As I grappled to come to terms with her passing, and why she meant so much to so many of us, I attempted to put some of what she meant to me into words.
Dignity and Grace. Head held high, a smile of knowing and wisdom, she was an elegant mixture of dignity and grace. Somehow you felt as though if in her presence, you would have stood up a little taller, walked a little straighter, and felt a whole lot prouder.
The Beauty of Transparency. She said what she meant, and meant what she said. In her writing, her words, even her actions, we saw the truth of humanity. She shared with us her existence, and all that it involved – the pain, the suffering, the embarrassment, the losses … and also the triumphs, the victories, the discovers and the joys. She lived. She laughed. She loved. And she took us along for the journey.
Grit and Determination. Nothing seemed to stop her. When there seemed no higher honor to achieve, yet another was bestowed upon Maya Angelou. I love how she rose to each challenge, and left an indelible footprint on our culture, and on humanity.
While her leaving us pains me, the essence of who she was is still here. For that, I am grateful.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise…..