– Dr. Maya Angelou
A couple of days ago when I was reviewing pictures on my computer, I came across one I used in the blog I wrote in honor of my youngest son’s graduation. My son looked at the picture and said, “I remember that.” I am almost certain if I ask him the details of the events he would not remember. I am sure his memories were more about his feelings than of the actual event.
I came across an excerpt from one of Dr. Angelou’s interviews where the interviewer, Trisha LaNae’, noted the above quote as one of her favorites. The first thing I thought about was my graduation night, May 30, 1987. I do not remember all of the events of that night–there are more people who remember that night better than I. What I remember is how I felt. On one hand, I felt that my mother would have been proud of my accomplishments. This was a special date. It marked the 5th anniversary of my mother’s death. However, the night ended with a deep sense of loss, rejection and shame. A feeling of not feeling good enough to be loved.
I don’t know why I thought of this memory first, but it explains why sometimes I can’t articulate details of a defining moment as well as I can take you back to the way I felt. I am sure you can probably relate to this as well. Right now my daughter is going through a difficult time. It has been an immense challenge for our family. Every time I feel helpless, I fast forward to 2018 where I imagine my daughter walking across the stage at her graduation. I envision releasing balloons as she crosses the stage. I also imagine my brother with an obnoxious duck horn that pisses off the people sitting directly in front of us. I imagine Casey smiling with tears in his eyes (of course he will insist that he’s not crying) and I imagine Rob, Tristan and Jordan bawling like newborn babies.
At the end of the night, when I take the traditional mom and child ride back home, I imagine my daughter saying, “Thanks for believing in me.” The feeling of love and pride I imagine I would feel is what gets me through these difficult moments.
I guess what I love about Maya Angelou’s stories, poems and quotes is how vivid they are. Her words allow me to describe events in my life that were once indescribable. Now I can eloquently describe events in my life in a way that make them relatable to others…even if I don’t remember all of the details.
RIP Maya Angelou.