Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dear Michael...

I feel like I’ve lost something. But I’m not quite sure what. I feel like I never got the chance to witness and experience something truly extraordinary… and that is the problem exactly: I feel like I’ve lost something I never got the chance to have.

Dear Michael,
I don’t know you. But you must be somebody great. I hear people talking about you – about how much they miss you, about how much good you’ve done and how you’ve touched the world because you tried to heal the world. And it’s amazing to sit and listen to people go on and on about you. And I wonder if they’re saying all these things because you’re dead, and how sad it would be if they never took the time to tell you all these nice things when you were alive. Because, from what I’ve been hearing, you needed to hear them.

I heard people talk about how shy and soft-spoken you were, and how animated you became before a crowd – how you transformed into this other person who was innovative and creative and just went out of your way to make people happy.

And I saw the videos. I saw the way you stretched your arms wide and tilted up your chin during the applause after your performances… how hard you breathed, and how you seemed to be absorbing every last drop of praise from those people. Was that it, Michael? Was that what made stage life so great for you? Was it the adoration from the fans? The feeling of being valued? Of knowing that, in that second, for that moment, you could allow yourself to feel loved and appreciated? You could find satisfaction for that basic human desire for acceptance?

And that was exactly what was wrong with you, wasn’t it Michael? You were too human. And they nearly killed you for it. Because who were you to be a full grown man with a boy’s voice? To like to laugh and give hugs? To walk with your heart in your hands, ready to give it freely to anyone who wished? Who were you to be so very very simple and basic and human, yet miraculously gifted and talented? Who were you to bare your shattered soul to humanity and ask them to love you anyway? To make yourself so vulnerable? What did you think you were, Michael - a kid? A king?

Michael, I miss you. I don’t even know you and I miss you! I watched your funeral and I bawled shamelessly. I didn’t even know when the tears started falling… but fall they did. And they’re falling still. Because I loved what people had to say about you. I loved the way I felt when they showed the picture of this little five year old boy-wonder singing about missing his baby. I loved what Smokie Robinson said about watching you sing – about you being a kid but somehow knowing. You know what it means to be a kid knowing, Michael. A kid being able to feel what adults think is reserved only for them. A grown man-boy who never really grew up...

I reckon there are a lot of things in this world that I still don’t understand. And I figure that if I stay around long enough, I may start to understand some, but others would still evade me. But I know. Michael, I know- that when I die, I want people to talk about me like that too. I want orphanages and charities to remember me. I want my brother to sing my favourite song with tears flowing down his face. I want my mother to wear a big ole hat to hide the grief she cannot bear. I want my sister to get quiet and pensive. I want my baby to tell the world what a great mommy I was, and how she loved me – regardless of what anybody else thinks –she loves me! I want people to sing my songs and remember me for all the good that I’ve done. And sit in a town square and rock and cry. And remember. And recount. And appreciate. And cry.

And I want the world to pause, for one brief moment, and acknowledge my existence like that. I want them to say, without the shadow of a doubt, that -love me, hate me, can’t make up their minds about me– they all MUST acknowledge the fact that I lived. That I really lived. That I did what I did. And I did it well.

Michael. I don’t know you. But I know you lived an extraordinary life... You were something special... you were something else... *sigh*... something else...

There was nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with. -Rev. Al Sharpton to Michael Jackson's children at the Memorial Service