Death and Life: What Maya Angelou's death taught me about Life
When driving to our cottage today, I heard on the CBC radio the passing of Maya Angelou. According to her son, Guy Johnson, Angelou “lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace”. Her death made me think about other people’s deaths and the meaning of life.
Angelou is certainly a person who will not be easily forgotten. She was a poet, author and civil rights activist who changed the life of many people in North America, particularly women and African Americans. Recently, we also lost Nelson Mandela; another person who is now part of the history of humanity. Although these two people had lives that were filled with all kind of obstacles and challenges, somehow, they were still able to live their lives fully. In my opinion, they are two examples of what it means to live life.
Death and life
The death of Angelou may me reflect about life and this amazing chance that we all have to live. I believe that life keeps us so many surprises. To be honest, we don’t know when our existence in this planet will end. When saying this, I am thinking about this colleague who died during his early fifties and never had the chance to retire. Or, the baby of a friend who died last year and never had the chance to know what life was about. He died from an extremely rare disease just a few months after he turned a year old. Or, this young teenager (son of some friends) who died last week and never had the chance to fall in love or drive a car; he was only 16 years old.
When I heard about Maya Angelou this morning, I thought about death and its meaning. I don’t know you, but I don’t think that I have really ever thought too much about my death until I got married and had my son; more importantly until I started to get old. I am not saying that we should always be thinking about our death; it will certainly be depressing and not good for the morale if we do that. I just say that from time to time, we should actually think about not so much death, but its opposite, life. In particular, I feel that we should take “death” as a reminder that we are still alive and that we only have one chance to live; so, what are we waiting for, let’s take this chance!
Only one chance to live...what does it mean?
It is common knowledge that North Americans are stressed, overworked and don’t know anymore how to relax. So, are we really living? NO! We don’t even know how to laugh and enjoy the small experiences and moments that life brings to us every single day. We tend to over-analyze everything and don’t just live the moment. Yes, we have so many excuses for this, including my number one: “I don’t have” time”. But, is that really true? What are your excuses? In my case, I have to admit is that I just have trouble prioritizing what is really important in life. Sometimes it takes a crisis for people to make major changes, but do we really need to wait until that time? It may be too late? As it is often said, we don’t know when we would be called?
What do you think?