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A Regret

Maya Angelou has died.

When I was in college, there was a weekly lecture on Friday mornings open to the whole campus. It was called Forum. It was free and not required for any class. I attended many of them but, I’m sad to say, not all. I would look at the list of speakers and, if I thought the speaker and subject matter looked interesting, I would go. But sometimes…ok…most of the time…I opted to sleep in.

On one such Friday, I didn’t recognize the name of the person speaking, the forum was about poetry and I really didn’t want to drag myself to campus to hear some poet. I slept in.

When I finally did arrive on campus for an afternoon class, I stopped in at the student union to get something to drink and everyone was talking about the Forum speaker. I kept hearing how wonderful she was, how moving it had been, how inspiring, etc. I asked someone who the speaker had been and she said “Maya Angelou”.

“Who?” I asked

“Maya Angelou! You don’t know who Maya Angelou is???”

No, I didn’t. But I looked her up at the library (pre-Google days) and my heart sank.

Regret. Deep regret. An opportunity to hear someone so profound and inspiring speak FOR FREE and I slept.

It has been years since my poor decision was made. I have read her books, seen her in movies and on TV. Fallen in love with her poem “Phenomenal Woman”. So much so that I printed it out and posted it on my wall for years. (

Maya Angelou is an inspiration to me and also the source of one of my deepest regrets. She taught me and so many others great lessons in life. And one of the best lessons she taught me was to never miss an opportunity to learn. If I haven’t heard about someone or something, do research BEFOREHAND so I will know the best decision to make. Don’t decide to miss an opportunity based on ignorance or laziness.

Rest in peace with God and the angels, Ms. Angelou! You lived a good life and will be missed.

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