by Collette McGruder

Maya Angelou was an undeniable force whose words will live permanently in our hearts and minds.  Angelou's list of accomplishments could take up an entire posting, but I will keep it local by noting at the age of 16, Dr. Angelou was the first Black female Street Conductor in San Francisco. 

In her writings she spoke of of caged birds, defined phenomenal women and reminded us that when people first show us who they are, we have to believe them. 

The latter idea will always remind me of my mother who first introduced the idea of "believing people" to me when I was a teen.  The details of the incident that prompted it were so minor, they have all faded,  but I remember feeling the solace that followed in hearing these words.  People inevitably show us their truths of their spirit and their intentions and no matter how painful we have to believe them. The sentiment was so obvious, so simple and so true, that from that moment on, I declared my mother a genius and sought my mother's counsel on all matters of the heart.

Later, I would discover that this quote was credited to Dr. Angelou.  Eventually, I just had to ask my mother if she realized that this, along with so many words other words of advice she had given derived from Angelou. 

Her reply was, "Well, yes. I know that Angelou is credited for speaking what so many wise women already know in their hearts.  She was granted the gift through words to spread this truth in a way most women cannot."  These are the simple truths that every mother attempts to bestow upon her daughter.   Actually, they are the truths that every loving human being inherently senses and Dr. Angelou gave it a voice.  She always spoke from truth, love an Spirit.

So, I thank you Dr. Angelou for giving words to and spreading the power of  'the truths that lives in the hearts of wise women.' 

We will forever miss the woman who was, in essence, a poetic mother to us all.