The world sadly lost one of its greatest icons this past Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Dr Maya Angelou passed away at her home in North Carolina at the age of 86. Dr. Angelou was a writer, an actress, a singer, a dancer, a teacher, a civil rights activist, a great thinker... the list goes on and on of what she was and still will be to many people for all ages to come. To me, she was much more than being one of the non-fiction writers that I have written about. Dr Angelou is one of my personal heroes.
Dr. Maya Angelou never let anyone or anything but especially society define who she was. Being raised the majority of her childhood in the segregated South and then the rest of it in San Francisco, Dr. Angelou had a strong-willed paternal grandmother and a strong-willed mother who each taught her to be assertive in her convictions and beliefs. She struggled early in life with being raped at age seven, becoming a mother at age seventeen, and having such low self-esteem at one point in her life that she thought she had to work in a brothel to prove her love for a man. However, Dr. Angelou then remembered childhood lessons and sought out new lessons from her mother, Ms. Vivian Baxter. She also learned lessons on her own and overcame all of these obstacles. She discovered the love of the Higher Power and that she was worthy of much better in her life. She started to thrive as well as trying many careers as a singer, dancer, civil rights activist, and later on, the inspiring writer and teacher that she was up until her death and now, beyond her life.
Dr. Angelou became who she wanted to be. She did not believe that she had to be just one thing in her life. She was who her soul beckoned her to be. How did she know that? She listened to what her heart and soul were telling her. She believed that love could right all wrongs and heal all wounds. Did everything work out perfectly in her life? Like with all human beings, no, it did not always work out. However, that never stopped her. That only fueled her drive and determination to work harder and to be better in her life for herself as well as for others.
She was still writing and teaching and participating in speaking engagements and activism leading up to her death. She never ceased to live, not even for a second. That is how I am trying to be. That is how I hope I will be...busy until whenever that end decides to come. Hopefully, not for a while yet...:) Do not ever believe your life is over. It has only just begun. Always keep learning. "When you learn, teach....at our best we are all teachers." to cite Dr. Angelou.
I will also borrow something from my Grandpa Don, who I believe Dr. Maya Angelou would have definitely agreed with in this case, "The best is yet to come."
Rest in Peace, Dr. Angelou. I will keep writing, Ma'am. You have inspired me in that way as well as in the type of human being I want to be. Take Care and God Bless. Also, my condolences to your son, Guy Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, and to all the other people who were loved and mentored by you.