Yesterday amid all the hubbub concerning superstars passing on to the next realm, I was cruising down my street in my little red Scion and happened to glance over at a young woman pushing a stroller. Minding my own business, in errand mode, I locked eyes with the curly-haired tot being wheeled happily along, and suddenly I was weeping. He was sucking a pacifier and his big chocolate eyes widened at the sight of me, and then the magical moment was over. I was touched by the pure innocence of that gaze and for most of the day when I thought about that baby’s face, I got a catch in my throat and my solar plexus opened up wide. I’ve been trying to figure out why I reacted in such a heart-opening way.
Maybe my sweet boy, Nick, came to mind. He used to enjoy a good pacifier. I could feel how it calmed him down in a new or confusing situation. He’s living in Tokyo now, so perhaps it was an instant of mommy-longing. Maybe it’s because another innocent boy/man met his sad fate on the same day. I have an old snapshot of my 4 year old Nick, holding tightly and proudly to his Off the Wall album, a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s almost from birth.
Nick was able to live as a child throughout his childhood, a blessing that Michael Jackson would never know. He loved Peter Pan because he was Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up and now never will. He surrounded himself with little kids because he was searching for the 7 year-old boy he lost so long ago on the Motown stage. Michael carried his entire troubled family on his slender shoulders, while the glaring, prodding, dissecting spotlight focused on his every gliding move. It seemed no matter how successful he got, he didn’t measure up in his own estimation. Each time he altered his face, it still wasn’t good enough, until he was peering out of a tortured, frightened mask. Sadly, he probably overdosed on various ‘prescribed’ drugs, just like one of his ex-wive’s daddy did back in ’77, and even though he was on the verge of a ‘comeback,’ I think Michael Jackson had become a frail and fragile shell of who he desperately wanted to be, surrounded by careless, groveling sycophants.
I heard that years ago Lisa Marie was afraid that Michael would die just like Elvis. The loss of our King of Pop is a tragic waste of a massive glorious talent…but whenever an icon dies, it’s a strange gift, in that it makes the rest of us ponder the certainty of our own death ~ and hopefully feel gratitude, and embrace the divine gift of life that we usually take for granted.
It’s a little later ~ I just read this quote from Lisa Marie about Michael’s death, and it seems she wasn’t the one who feared he might face the same fate as her father.
“Years ago Michael and I were having a deep conversation about life in general.
I can’t recall the exact subject matter but he may have been questioning me about the circumstances of my Father’s Death.
At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, “I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did.”
I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.
14 years later I am sitting here watching on the news an ambulance leaving the driveway of his home, the big gates, the crowds outside the gates, the coverage, the crowds outside the hospital, the Cause of death and what may have led up to it and the memory of this conversation hit me, as did the unstoppable tears.”