Dr. Maya Angelou on Loving and Letting Go

Season 5 Episode 508
Aired on 10/11/2015 | CC tv-14
When Dr. Maya Angelo was told her mother, Vivian Baxter, had three weeks to live, she invited her to spend her final days with her in North Carolina. Vivian was suffering from terminal lung cancer, but she lived on for another year and a half—far beyond what the doctors had expected.

Dr. Angelou says that her mother liberated her, so at the very end, as Vivian clung to life, Dr. Angelou hoped to return the favor. As she recalls, she told her ill mother, "I understand that some people need permission to go. You may have done what God put you hear to do. ... You were a piss-poor mother of small children, but you were a great, great mother of young adults. And if you need permission to go, I liberate you."

Afterward, Dr. Angelou went back to her house, but a nagging feeling compelled her to return, she says. "I was in my pajamas. I jumped in my car and ran, and the nurse said, 'She's just gone.' You see, love liberates. It doesn't bind."

Watch as Dr. Maya Angelou opens up about her mother's final days and reflects on the true nature and power of love.