On the Passing of Dr. #MayaAngelou

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By Dr. Chisara N. Asomugha

What shall I say to these things? What shall I say to those who ask, “Did you know her,” or “What did she mean to you?” What shall I say about how you broke open my cage? How you were the grandmother of my literary life, the inspiration that justified my dream turned reality to write about what I know: my life…to never be ashamed of it and to inspire the world through written word. I will sing of you today, as always and forever. I will sing of how I learned to fly because you had flown in the pages of your writings; I will sing of how I learned to love my enemies because you loved them in the words of truth-love you spoke over them. I will sing of how I embraced my imperfections because you weren’t afraid to walk in yours. And even in death, your light still shines brightly. Even when your last breath was exhaled, your words were still opening doors and hearts wider. Oh, how we have long ached to be open when we didn’t know how to be. But you told us, “when you know better you do better.” So we persisted in our pursuit of open freedom. And we persisted in breaking open cages and singing the song in our hearts, even if the song showed our pain, even if it broke open our shame, because we knew the healing would come and a new song would be sung. The world now sings its song of you and sings it in harmony.

One hundred forty characters or less will never begin to encompass the magnitude of your generosity of spirit in showing us yourself so that we might know a little bit more about who we are. No photo, or status update, memoir or eulogy will ever hold all of you as you were and as you will remain in our collective psyche — but we will do it if only just to say to those who will come long after we are gone that you were loved and respected, an inspiration to so many and that you were and always will be phenomenal.