"I will forever be counting backward from June 25, 2009" ~ Betty Byrnes
This June 25, 2017 is the 8th anniversary of the tragic loss of Michael Jackson... the King of Pop... the King of Hearts. At the time of his death I'd been living a very private, limited life.... protecting my children and myself from the world, licking wounds from a nightmarish marriage ravaged by drug addiction, abuse and divorce, the loss of my mother and more than one company lay off. I was already numb... had been numb for years. Michael Jackson's death obliterated the numbness and served as the catalyst that tore open my heart exposing years of pain. There simply was no time to deal with or heal from the chasm of grief as I attempted to just survive the crap storm of my life. His death magnified every loss, exposing it all fresh and anew. His death also served as the tool which ripped me out of the protected, limited, sedate 'church' world I'd been hiding in, catapulting me into a public, worldwide sisterhood, the axis of my life forever altered. Ultimately Michael Jackson's death was the synergy needed for healing and growth in my life.
One of Michael's greatest wishes was that the world connect in love. It seems that in death this wish was somewhat achieved as millions have connected in love for him and now for each other as we have grown to know and love one another. I have made beautiful friendships I will always cherish. Grief they say is experienced in stages. I've felt at times on this roller coaster of grief like I was treading muddy water, yet at other times I've felt as though I was on the highest spiritual mountain feeling a very special touch from above. Then again if you do not allow yourself to experience each stage fully they say you will need to loop back and continue to experience it over and over. I've seen that in some MJ fans who continue to sob hysterically over his loss as if it were yesterday. My heart breaks for them as they stagnant in any particular stage. Personally for the most part I have been able to move on to 'Acceptance'... thank God. Now I know and feel 'Time' is the answer. It's been 8 years now and although Michael will never be forgotten there is so much happening in this world that demands immediate attention and passion to carry L.O.V.E. and 'freedom' forward. Hopefully I can now practice Michael's message to "Make That Change" as best I can in this crazy, unjust world.
In my heart I will forever be grateful to Michael Jackson, a man I never knew, an incredible loving, kind and generous man who spent his entire life bringing music, joy, love and CHANGE for the better into the lives of people around the world. He truly was God's chosen child of love, a child prodigy who forever retained the magic of a child's heart and an adult icon that will never be forgotten. It still amazes me how he globally radiated more talent than any one human has ever shown the world. His love for the hurting and this planet was stratospheric.
My family at times did not quite understand my love and gratitude for Michael Jackson. Sometimes it's hard for people to accept change in those they love. There is a comfort in keeping people limited and unchanged, because as those they love stretch and grow it also requires they too stretch their own acceptance and understanding... sometimes they simply are not ready for that... simply do not want change. However my family for the most part saw my joy, the new energy MJ and the incredible journeys, friends and experiences that Michaeling ushered into my life... and were happy for me. Several of my grandchildren totally 'get it' and when they visit with me ask to see his short films and hear his music and clearly love it as it's impossible to listen to Michael's music and not be lifted by the positive energy. They also enjoy a visit to his Hollywood walk of fame star and other Hollywood landmarks on outings together. My youngest grand daughter who has such a sensitive heart and spirit enjoyed a visit to the Neverland gates while on a trip up north with grandma to see the Monarch Butterfly Grove. These moments are so special for me. One Christmas my son thrilled me with a present of a giant 'This Is It' theater poster to add to my MJ collectibles. I truly felt he 'got it'. I hold on to these precious moments as it is always so nice to feel accepted and loved by those we love so deeply.... and so very heartbreaking when they reject us after we show our true heart.
So here it is 8 years after losing Michael... way too soon... the MJ family around the world has gone through much. We have come to know each other amidst our common bond. In observation some remain stagnant... maybe comfortable in the pain... or stuck in emotional problems that were there before his death and manifested openly with his death... who knows? Some have turned Michael into their personal god and literally pray to him. Yikes... but to each their own. My personal choice is to pray to the God who created the world and all of us in it... as Michael did... always pointing upward and acknowledging that he and all his gifts came from God. Some sit on their self appointed perch judging others finding some lack what makes a fan a fan, comfortable in their superior fandom... this attitude boggles my mind. Some exhaustively need to tell everyone over and over they are the 'biggest and bestest' MJ fan EVER, know 'everything', have been 'everywhere' MJ related and met 'everyone' connected to MJ in any way shape or form. Maybe this validates them on MJ's level somehow... who knows? Some have taken a small real life interaction with Michael to a whole other level turning themselves into self proclaimed fan type celebrities. Some take these small real life encounters they had with Michael... sometimes only a picture or a moment and create an entire book jammed with fiction and lies all for the sake of making money off the fans. Some continue to also exhaust everyone constantly stirring the pot of controversy instigating drama and unfounded rumors never able to grasp the love and peace message Michael shared with the world. UGH! At the other end of that spectrum some have tired of the drama or life circumstances have moved them on and they have disappeared from the MJ community completely. Some, the number seems to dwindle each year, continue to make the loving pilgrimage to Los Angeles each June when funds allow especially for the beautiful One Rose for Michael J. Jackson event. Personally for me at this point in my life I have learned to lead a more rounded, full life... less obsessing over/about Michael and more inspired by Michael's example to expand my boundaries, appreciate trying new things, learn more, read more, listen to more different types of music and artists, embrace art, creativity and design, enjoy museums and treasure hunting in antique and thrift stores, which I love, and when funds allow travel. I have expanded my 'Michaeling' to 'Make That Change' even in the smallest of ways in my family, life, neighborhood and community by becoming more politically educated and active in my personal tiny sphere of influence. His touch and influence on my life always present in all I do with the Lord, my source, as my guide.
The one thing I will ALWAYS hold dear from the MJ community are the very close friends that the Lord brought into my life via Michael Jackson. I hold those friendships close to my heart and cherish all the unique qualities of each one. I am so grateful and thankful for the those who have traveled this journey of grief recovery with me whether online or in person. God bless each and every one of you wherever you may live in this world. May we all heal where we are at this moment in time and may our journey continue in joy and love.