As I'm cleaning my kitchen and dusting my living room, I listen to CNN television broadcasting the memorial of Michael Jackson. The thoughts, memories and banners on the show lead me to the Internet where I go to Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Blogger and other websites where the world is mourning his sudden death or celebrating his music and his life.
I see the funeral procession traveling from Forest Lawn Cemetery to The Staples Center. I see traffic on a road parallel to the procession riding along beside the hearse carrying MJ's still body. I see a school bus on that parallel road and realize that no matter how famous you are, no matter how rich you are, no matter who you are, oblivious to our pain life goes on. And life can be so unexpectedly short.
I think about how MJ's songs might have influenced my life and wonder if they really did. Then, I remember eras in my life by the songs I hear him sing. “Thriller”came out when I was a stay at home mom with my children and leaves me with good thoughts and feelings of having my children at home with me. Songs he sang with The Jackson 5 bring back high school memories and all those feelings we battle during our adolescent years. I remember I loved roller skating with Richard while he held my hands and skated backwards as we floated together around the floor to “I'll Be There”. Richard could really skate well!
Then, I hear of a song mentioned I had not heard of - “Childhood”. I went to YouTube to listen to the words. And I realized the pain, the lack of love he sensed, the anguish this man suffered in his life. And in all of this, it seemed, from what I gathered, all he wanted to do was give love – something he felt he lacked somehow in his life.
Earlier this week, I've seen rerun documentaries and interviews with him and it makes me wonder did anyone really ever know who he truly was? Did he even know himself? Was he ever able to really get close to someone?
I wondered if all the rumors and accusations were true. I realized how dysfunctional he appeared and wondered if it was for show. I can't judge this man. I try not to be judgmental of others. I've been misjudged by others so many times myself, I hate to do the same to someone else. Yet, at the same time, my mind wonders if the rumors were true. But, I keep in mind that we are innocent until proven guilty.
And then I try to put myself in his place. If I had more money than I could ever imagine, would I be afraid to get close to others? Would they love my money, my fame or me? If I had more money than I could ever imagine and I had been severely deprived of childhood rights, would I make up for that if opportunity allowed me? If, during my adolescence, I was constantly in front of the public and important role figures in my life made fun of my face and people in crowds made comments about my skin, and I had more money than I could ever imagine, would I change my face in order to be accepted and loved by others? Who knows? Who knows what caused the eccentricities of Michael Jackson? He lived in such an eccentric world. Who of us could even begin to identify with his life? So how can I judge? And as the pastor stated in his benediction, the King of Pop now bows his knees to the Kings of Kings.
As I watch the pall bearers carry his brilliantly shining floral covered casket down the aisle on my television screen, the crowd cheers for this gifted entertainer. In between speakers, the crowd calls out, “Michael! Michael!” As if, for one last time, he can hear their love and admiration. Wouldn't he have loved his final show?
Several memorial speakers state that Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer that ever lived and each time the crowd cheers. There are a lot of musicians I have loved and enjoyed, and as I watch him on the screen with his feet sliding, his hips rocking, his jacket and glove shining in the spotlight, I tend to agree with the speakers. Michael Jackson was a brilliant talent in our world and we were lucky to have his influence in our lives.
Michael, we love you more.