I read the headlines, and it’s still unbelievable. Who knew it would all come to a screeching halt on June 25?
That’s what I can’t get through my brain the most, the vision of the endless timeline. The logic of it: That day, the 25th of June 2009, was marked on the invisible calendar of death before Michael was even born. It was waiting for him, and as he lived and continued to achieve, he slowly drew closer. He was only years away, then one year, then one month, then a week, then day then hours. The day came and went, and we still go on, gliding silently on the invisible timeline without him. He isn’t anymore. He just isn’t, but he was just a regular weekend ago. He’s disappeared into thin air.
Thousands crowded Apollo theater today to pay their respects, lay flowers down and dance bittersweetly to his music. I heard the lines were as long as 10 blocks, people waited hours, and they let 600 people in at a time.
Poor Michael. It makes my heart so heavy to think about how loved he is. Did he know it? I don’t know. He sounded so thankful every time he thanked his fans, from beginning till end. The last acknowledgment of his love to his fans was just a few weeks ago, at his last appearance before the This Is It Tour that would never happen, since they had planned it after that fated invisible square beyond which Michael would never make it.
He looked frail then at that last appearance, out of it. Stumbling almost, he wore those big black aviator glasses, and his face was the face of death. He didn’t say much on that stage. Just that this is really it, “the last curtain call.” Kept emphasizing it, and how sad that seems now. But the way he said I love you to his fans, the way he said it and meant it, it was so personal, so emotional and heartfelt. He said it abruptly, longingly, as if he was saying farewell before even starting his concerts. Looking back now, he was whispering a secret that meant much more than anyone knew. A secret that he and fate were in on, both conspiring to reveal it in just a few days when they’d take flight, and fly to Neverland.
It’s like he knew he was going to die, and I think he did. He hinted once in an interview that he thought he was a bit psychic. That he was afraid he’d die, that he often felt a death coming and prayed that it wasn’t him. But when the death was finally his, he must have known.
I loved Michael, but ever since he died, I’ve loved him more. Why? Because I guess I never realized just how much more he needed to be loved. How all the crap — the gossip, the name-calling, the molestation charges — was like a big chip, chipping away at him slowly. Eating at his soul, especially the molestation charges. Why? Because he was a child at heart, a pure, sweet child. He was such a child that he didn’t see anything wrong with having a kid over to play.
He didn’t have much of a childhood. So when he grew up, he built his own fantasy: Neverland. And he loved “the way Jesus said we should…Love the children, imitate the children — not childish, but childlike.”
There is a little girl on the stock photography site I acquire images from for work, whose photographs I stumble upon now and then. She is young, about 6 years old, and there is something angelic about her. The way she laughs at the camera, facing it as she faces the world: straight on, candidly, fearlessly. The way she sleeps so innocently in some photos, concentrates completely on buttoning her shirt.
I’ve only used one shot of her for an article, but on my desktop, I have a folder with many of her pictures. Last year, while I was dealing with my own issues from childhood, I identified with her…I saw the same innocence I used to have in her, admired it. Now I don’t mourn lost innocence anymore, because I’m more well-adjusted in adulthood, but I still love looking at the girl. Children really are divine, closer to God than we, something I’ve believed ever since reading Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality.”
I’ll get over my mourning of Michael with time, I know. But sometimes, it’s good to stay here for a while, linger in the stillness, dive deep into the meaning of the life of another. And take from it what you may, because once they’re gone, it’s up for the taking.
I choose to take inspiration. Immortal is he who doesn’t cease to inspire, even after his life has ended. So I choose to be inspired by Michael’s life, Michael’s beliefs, Michael’s pure and endless love. The boundless love he felt for his fans, for children, animals, for every living thing. I don’t care that he was troubled — we all are. We are all flawed, and so was he, and instead of hating one another, calling one another names, we should love one another. Love each other well, and when one’s down, not kick him further, but love him, build him up with love, help him get up again.
Michael was kicked, beaten, had shit thrown all over him from people who feared him, feared what they didn’t understand, perhaps feared his power, the love his fans have for him. Or by the people who didn’t care to take a second and hear the story from both sides. Instead, they heard one side, the easy, bad, sensational side. And that’s why Michael isn’t with us anymore.
I choose to be inspired. Remember what I felt during my spiritual awakening in college, not just what I found in Wordsworth and Keats, but in Ravi Shankar too. That only when you stand at the corner and keep quiet for a bit are you able to feel compassion for the world, and only then will you be in touch with the truth, with the soul, the fibers of our Being.
I choose to ask God to give me the strength to keep this with me always, to help me embrace what I discovered then and rediscovered now since Michael passed away.
May God embrace him with all His love and comfort, and may He help me live with our ideals.
“Let us dream of tomorrow where we can truly love from the soul, and know love as the ultimate truth at the heart of all creation.” — Michael Jackson