I remember watching I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in the summer of 1979; I was 14 years old. I had never read the book. I didn’t know it was her true story, but I knew someone had lived that life and that knowledge made me sad.
I had met my father by then and there was far more stability in my life but I sat there and cried as I watched and longed to hug that sweet child and tell her I loved her and I understood. I had felt unloved and abandoned before. I had faced cruelty and poverty. I had overcome pain at the hands of others who should have known better. I wanted to tell her that hate isn’t a black or white issue sometimes, but it is a heart issue all the time. I wanted to wrap my white arms around her and hug her until she didn’t hurt anymore and fight anyone who tried to hurt her again.
Throughout the years I would meet Ms. Angelou many more times in her work and many more times I felt connected to her. I laughed and cried, was angered, indignant, and illuminated by her words unfailingly. She always seemed like someone who would hug you and mean it and talk honestly with you about many things leaving you always wanting to hear more. I know she was political and that we likely wouldn’t have a greed about many things, but I felt a kinship with her through the soulful words she shared.
Rest in peace Ms. Angelou. I suspect you have the rapt attention of the angels now as heaven welcomes you home.