Like many people last week, my heart sunk at the startling news of Dr. Maya Angelou’s passing at the age of 86. Although she lived long and there weren’t many initial reports of illness, I was not prepared for the reality of her death.
As various tributes poured and continue to pour in all over the world, I have had to take a couple moments to take in the news that another prolific figure has left us.
However, I won’t mourn for her. And I refuse to be sad.
For those who don’t know much about her life and works, Dr. Angelou LIVED life, and what an extraordinary life it was. She was an artist-of-all-trades as an actor, activist, dancer, writer, poet and so much more. She was able to live all over the world and be among revolutionary figures like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and James Baldwin. She overcame adversity in her younger days and she rose above it all, becoming a “phenomenal woman.”
Her books and words helped release millions of people who may have felt like “caged birds” around the globe. It was just two weeks ago I shared this quote on my Facebook profile when I was unsure of the direction of my career aspirations, inspired by Dr. Angelou’s motivating words:
And on the morning of May 28, before news of her passing, I discovered another inspiring quote by Dr. Angelou: ” We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”
With a life like Dr. Angelou’s, how can I be sad? The way she lived is a testimony to all that we should LIVE our lives to the fullest. A life that’s full of self-confidence and no regrets. She was a woman who LIVED in her truth.
I’m not sad. Instead, I am in awe of such a wonderful life. I’m forever grateful for allowing such a beautiful soul to walk among us.
So I will celebrate her life by living my own, unapologetically. To travel and experience different cultures and to simply do the things I love.
I urge you all to do the same.