I wrote this piece in 2015, two years after my mom passed away. As I am coming up on 2 years of life without my sister, it is nothing short of a miracle that I came across something that I had forgotten all about. It is just as true today as it was then.
“Love liberates, it doesn’t bind.”~Maya Angelou
October 14, 2015
Two days ago, I was watching clips of Oprah’s Master Class on Youtube, for some reason I was drawn to the videos of Dr. Maya Angelou. I came across the one titled, “Loving and Letting go.” In this particular video, she talks about her mother’s last days, those 2 minutes and 41 seconds changed my perception, and understanding of love. I was dumbstruck in amazement. How could I have not known this before? I mean, I have loved and known love, so how was it possible that what I just heard was so foreign to me, this was a pristine and new revelation! Dr. Angelou profoundly said, “love liberates, it doesn’t bind.” The moment I heard her speak those words, I knew that I didn’t know nor understand love in its totality. I knew that I didn’t have the faintest concept of the depths of love. I became keenly aware that I had NEVER loved on this level. Does that mean that I hadn’t loved, absolutely not. I love hard and I love intensely.
Have you ever had something just reach out and grab you? Those words grabbed me. When I got over the initial awe, immediately, I thought of my Mama and her last year of life on this earth. I was so mentally and emotionally consumed with keeping her with us. During those days all I felt was panic and fear. Question after question about her care, her quality of life, and her spiritual focus flooded my mind. Everything I thought or felt was clothed in anxiety. I couldn’t remember our good times. I couldn’t remember life before Cancer. I couldn’t remember the jokes we shared or anything that she had taught me. All I could see, hear or feel was despair.
I now see that it was Mama, during her time of transition, who liberated me. Mama didn’t give us time to make a decision about machines, there was no time to make ANY decisions for her. In complete Augusta fashion, she quietly with strength, devotion to us, and dignity let go. It has taken me 2 years and hearing a statement to realize that mama’s final decision was the most loving, liberating, and powerful of them all. Grasping this insight brought me right back to the quote and I further realized that love, real love is not a force that confines and controls, it gives you freedom to be and to be without fear of losing love. Love doesn’t hold us hostage in bad relationships. Love doesn’t take away our individuality. Love doesn’t restrict who we can become. Love doesn’t hold a soul in a body that has run its course. Love doesn’t hurt. Love is freeing, it allows, it forgives, it supports, it corrects, it compels, it fulfills, and yes, it liberates, my God does it liberate!
From the day I heard that quote, I vowed that I would love truly and deeply for the rest of my life and I FINALLY let Mama go. I wholeheartedly embrace the fact that mama is no longer here in the physical form. I am comforted by memories and I have even begun to laugh at our fun times, haven’t done that in 2 years. Not only did this awakening help me let mama go, I was able to let go of my daddy and my beloved Mama Birda(grandma). They will always be with me because I hold them near but it is time to stop grieving and live! For the first time in many, many years(my grandma passed in 2000 and my daddy in 2005), I feel free of the grief that has had me in its grip because the 3 most important people in my life are gone, physically! MIRACULOUS!
While I am a newbie at this love level, I know that with mindfulness and practice, soon this will be the only way of loving that I know. Isn’t it funny how one statement or word, spoken at the right time can change your life. It was Dr. Maya Angleou’s willingness to participate in a TV show and to be open enough to discuss her life, that resulted in me learning the true power and purpose of love, to me that is A miracle and God’s wonderful demonstration of his love for me.