For many Dr. Maya Angelou was more than a beloved poet, author, singer, dancer, actor, national treasure, educator, civil and human rights activist. Dr. Maya Angelou fulfilled, unknowingly perhaps, the role of mother / nurturer. She enlightened individuals across oceans from varying cultural backgrounds and religious affiliations, impacted consciousness of human existence by demanding of us an awakening. For that reason I have always seen Dr. Maya Angelou as Momma Maya. Over the years, Momma Maya's pen partially chronicled her pains, joys and successes. Each story reaching deep and stirring the seed within reader, listener, student or friend to recognize all aspects of life: the sun, the rain, the beauty, even the hell. Thus fertilizing our lives with the seeds from her own.
Her words, provocative; her voice, soulful; her essence, inviting. The reality of Maya far greater and grander than the idea of her. This day, with her passing, I, one among many, an admirer and lover of this phenomenal woman, cannot boast sadness nor feel a sense of loss because she is no longer physically here. What Momma Maya represents has always transcended physicality. She was never contained by it. Momma Maya is. And because of Momma Maya we know ... we understand the song of the caged bird and the joy experienced upon its release.
To a love beyond love.
Maya Angelou in San Francisco, at the time of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1970. (© Bettman/CORBIS)