I remember when I was in grade school my classmates and I were assigned to write a letter to our favorite author. The recipient of my unsent letter was Dr. Maya Angelou. I felt a deep pain when I learned of her death on Wednesday morning. Personally connected we were not but spirtitually -- for sure on my end -- she was my soul mother, the voice that encouraged my quiet and timid one to roar. My un-muted thoughts and imaginations slowly poured out of my mind onto paper and, in later years, out of my mouth. Late great Maya Angelou, I thank you for that. Here I am again, writing another letter to you that will never reach your mailbox. Perhaps heaven will deliver this one to you.
Dear Dr. Angelou,
Thank you for being my gateway to this addiction of sharing life, stories and truth. I was about 8 or 9 when I started reading your poetry. "Phenomenal Woman" showed me my worth. I was 14 when I read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." That book showed me my honesty. I am 25 and recently was at troublesome crossroads. The last thing I read from you, "Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now," showed me my strength and more of your incredible wisdom. Your experience on earth makes me want to do more, love more and share more. Because of you, there is a place for our narrative -- now universal narratives. Brown women have never been the same since you told us we can rise. And like air, your spirit rose. Though you are no longer of the flesh, the world still feels you and I hope you can feel the immense love flowing here for you. I can't think of another being who has lived such a full life. Not only did you share your gift with us all, you also did not hide your honest pain. Thank you for hurting with us. Thank you for healing us with your art. To my favorite book report subject, my unknowing advisor, my literary mentor: I am eternally grateful. We are eternally grateful.
Rest in glory,