MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dr. Maya Angelou, the timeless poet and author who often gave life and death perspective, died at the age 86 Thursday. In exclusive, footage that has never aired before, Angelou talks about life, death, and what may come after.
“When I leave this planet, I would have left something for young people and so I would hope young people will realize that, you’ve already been paid for. All you have to do is pay for someone else, who is yet to come,” so mused the remarkable Dr. Maya Angelou as she sat for an interview for a documentary film called “The Silver Mirror.”
The documentary “The Silver Mirror” is an exploration of aging. The interview with Angelou was conducted in the poets home, by Ali Habashi, the film’s director and producer, a faculty member at the University of Miami School of Communications.
Habashi, described her as eternally hopeful, a voice for all humanity. Habashi sat exclusively with CBS4’s Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen and shared outtakes of his 90 minute interview with Angelou.
“You sit in front of her as a person such a special human being, kind, generous, she sees things in a timeless way, she sees things collectively as a human, we have very few people like that,” said Habashi. “She really has a way to have her point come across in a way that sits in your heart.”.
In the footage, Angelou shared candid an intimate thoughts on life, death and the mysterious after.
“I think when you know you’ve done the best you can, you might be able to slip away without even knowing it. I don’t know. I know it is that undiscovered country from whose born no traveler returns. Nobody has come back, not even Houdini, to tell us what it’s like,” said Angelou.
Habashi recalled the interview and Angelou’s impactful words.
“She made every single effort to make sure that we were on the same level, she never gave us a feeling that she was a celebrity. She actually made every effort and you can see that consciously when she is making a decision and telling you stories that would bring her to our level, to make us feel comfortable,” shared Habashi with Gillen.
“I know that everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die getting there,” she shared with a glowing laugh in the footage. “I’m not going to rush away from here, but when my body is finished I will go, of course I will go. Railing against it won’t keep me here but as long as I can be of use, anyone who can’t be of use is useless but I will be of use, and I am grateful for that.”
Angelou, a grand lady always teaching us to watch out and watch over those coming behind us, “Think more deeply, love more surely to be kinder, to be more patient and then you might get to be 70 and look at that, you might write a poem for the world.”
An unforgettable woman and certainly an unforgettable experience for Habashi and his team, “Before we were leaving she actually held my hand and said you are like my son I know that you’re going to do something good with this footage and that was really special, that was something that I’m sure it will stay for me just a feeling that she let me go with, it was really special, she was really a very special person, a very special human being.” ” Habashi said.
A life so traveled and yet perhaps the greatest mystery to unfold, the final chapter, one she won’t be able to write about, but her living memoir will be so treasured.