When I checked my Twitter feed last Wednesday, I was greeted with unsettling news. I read of Maya Angelou's death and instantly burst into tears.
To me, Maya was everyone's mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. She had an amazing ability to win the hearts and minds of everyone she touched. Her greatest gift to the world was her soul signature -- her fearless heart and unwillingness to conform. She was the living embodiment of grace and courage -- smashing paradigms and not only expanding her own expression as an African-American woman, but also increasing everyone else's unique expression in the process.
Death puts one's life in perspective. The indelible impact of Maya Angelou transcended her written words. She was the nation's wise old soul, a poet to presidents, and a committed conscience for civil rights. She passionately defended women, advocated for free speech, and for the voice of younger generations to be heard. Her passion for humanity extended far beyond her physical form, and her resonant expression will now echo throughout history -- timeless and immortal.
We weep because our elder, our sage, our powerful divine feminine pillar is gone. We mourn because the hope, love, and possibility she represented are no longer embodied within her. In our times of despair or trouble, our collective hearts will take solace in her words and poetry of the past, even though we long to hear her shed light on our present.
There is deep grief when a cultural touchstone such as Maya Angelou passes on, but her death is not an ending. It is an invitation for us to embody the possibility of love, peace, and inspiration within. Her passing prompts us to pick up the mantle and be a guiding light for others and ourselves. Though her body is no more, our remembrance of her vibrant soul signature keeps her spirit alive inside us.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you," she said. Maya's beautiful words are now our call to action -- a call to make our life as full as hers. After all, she inspired us to rise, to sing, and to stand in our own brave and startling truth. We are truly blessed to have known her through her presence, her love, and her work.
Do not suppress your untold story. Write it across the sky for the world to see.
I'm sure Maya would approve.