I realize I'm a bit late to this gathering, but still feel the need to comment on the sudden and devastating loss of Michael Jackson, one of the world's most talented, most creative, most prolific artists. His presence in our lives was a blessing.
I was traveling all day last Thursday. A news hound at heart, I felt a little displaced not being able to check in on CNN or MSNBC as often as I normally do to track the days' events. Imagine my shock when my sister-in-law's husband said late that night, "How 'bout my boy, Michael?"
To say I was stunned upon hearing of his death is beyond putting it mildly. I refused to believe what I'd heard. Since I was born in 1967, Michael Jackson and his family have been a constant presence in my life. I loved the cartoon of The Jackson Five and like so many others I, too, watched that Motown special 26years ago. I was 16 years old and I remember sitting on the family room floor, mesmerized as Michael moonwalked and gyrated all over that stage. Billie Jean is probably my most favorite of his songs. And while I never saw him live, and I didn't purchase every one of his albums, I still considered myself a fan. I did appreciate his talent and his music, which dominates the soundtrack of my teenage years. Unfortunately, as it so often happens, I took for granted his existence on this earth. He was always out there somewhere, to reappear occasionally on TV or pop up on newsstands. At least I knew he was out there creating, trying to make this world a more enjoyable place.
I realize everyone has their opinion about Michael and the accusations made of him with the children at Neverland Ranch. I will keep mine to myself; but I do believe, deep down, that Michael Jackson was a kind, caring person who longed for the childhood he never had; who worked to make others' lives happy; who was a loving son, brother, uncle and father; a compassionate soul who was probably too tender for the harsh environment of this world. I think many creative people are sensitive in ways that make survival on earth impossible. Many of these folks take their own lives. Many of them descend into drugs and alcohol in order to sooth psychological cuts and scrapes inflicted by society. I think Michael fell into the latter of these categories. He'd been too caring, too sensitive and he got hurt. He sought relief and, apparently, found it in bottles of painkillers. I am saddened to think he took pills to kill pain he endured.
And while I hope he's at peace somewhere, I'm still self-centered and greedy. I wasn't done hearing what he had to say. I wasn't done watching him moonwalk across the stages of the world.
I want him back.