By Elma Asio

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Maya Angelou. I did not know her. I did not truly know her and the only way to have a glimpse, and only a glimpse into one’s life is to read the stories they write. To see how they stretch their history and emotions across a story or a poem. That’s the only way we could know Maya Angelou.

Of recent, my trips to the bookstore have been more frequent and as I’d peruse through the titles on the covers, I’d see her name. As silly as this may sound, they would call to me. My being in a bookstore can only validly be compared that of a child in a candy store. I always want everything. But you can never have everything, at least not all at once. I’ll admit. I haven’t read many of her books. I guess that’s why I often felt like her books were urging me to buy them. Whenever I’d go to the bookstore, I’d pick another book and tell myself that I’d come back another time to get Dr. Angelou’s books too. I have a number of her book titles on my bucketlist though and I have added more including her cookbooks and now I’m on a quest I must have them all and I’ll pass them on to my children particularly my daughters because there is so much to learn from this lady (finding dog-ears on those books will make me take them back)

I have read a number of her poems. There’s so much soul in each one. “Phenomenal Woman” is one of the most popular, one of the most highly acclaimed and widely loved ones. I don’t think there is a woman alive who could read that poem and not feel empowered, not feel good about themselves regardless of their background, their level of education, their social or financial status or any standard by which we judge ourselves.

Dr. Maya Angelou was a great woman, spirited and wise and even though she and I never spoke, I imagine that she was extremely soulful and warm and tender. I imagine that her laugh to have been hearty and wholesome, leaving you feeling cosy. What I imagine most grandmothers’ laughs are like.

She is one of those people I hoped I’d have the pleasure to one day meet. It saddens me that now I know I won’t be able to, not in this life anyway.

I imagined having tea with her and hearing just one phrases from her that would not only brighten my day but completely change the course of my life for the better. I am glad that she left so much of herself behind. And even though I cannot physically have tea with biscuits with her, I can pick up a book or even a poem she wrote, sit back and not just read but listen as she speaks about her life and shares her wisdom.

A younger Maya Angelou dancing (Web Images)

A younger Maya Angelou dancing (Web Images)

Despite her own rocky background, she was able to RISE to soaring heights, becoming a mentor to women and girls worldwide. She proved that there was no situation in life that could hold a person down and that all you need is the will to break the chains wrapped around your own down trodden spirit to achieve greatness. She proved that you can have more than one dream and achieve each one in its own time.

If that isn’t encouragement for our own lives, I guess we’re just stubborn and seriously need to wake up.

There are plenty more people that have lived exceptional and extraordinary lives from which we can all pick more than just a leaf from. Maya Angelou will be one of those I will never forget.

I hope to be as great as she was, to empower as many women and girls as I possibly can and bring warmth wherever I can possibly reach.

I only write this short tribute out of conviction. I could never pen enough to express how glorious this lady was. We can only write so much and yet never enough.

Rest in peace Dr. Maya Angelou!!