As I've worked on this project, many things have surprised me, not the least of which has been how emotional it has been for me. This has honestly been the most emotionally exhausting project I have ever worked on in my lifetime.
The more I found out about Michael, the more deeply I felt his loss. I have to admit, I am having a hard time saying goodbye.
On a personal level, no matter our level of faith, when death touches our lives, it can shake us to our core. I remember that well in dealing with the deaths of those who have been very close to me.
We feel strongly the ache of missing the one who has gone before us and who is no longer here with us physically. We wish just one more time we could hug that person, tell them how much we love them, thank them for all that they've done. We question our faith. We question what heaven is really like and we wonder at times about all that we believe. We wonder and question and worry about our own mortality and the unknown.
I've felt all of these things since Michael's passing. It has been akin to my losing a dear, close friend or family member in many ways and that at times, has surprised me. There is an incredible sadness and sense of loss that I never expected to feel for someone I had never met, and yet, it is how I feel and I know that I have to embrace that. Michael, in his poem "Courage" talks about how it takes more courage to express true feelings to one person than it does to take the stage in front of thousands. For me, I am expressing my true feelings to many and the last time I took the stage was back in high school, but I understand fully what he is saying. I have to be true to my own feelings and here, I share them with you.
Though I never met him or knew him personally, I felt as if I knew him (many of his struggles were similar to my own) and I've felt the loss as if he was a close friend. The more I got to know Michael through his writings, his interviews, his songs, the more I realized just how much we have lost by his passing. The more I found out about him and who he was as a person, and through his own words, got to know more of his soul and his heart, I found myself caring about him as a person, a human being. Michael Jackson the entertainer was amazing and talented and I had always admired the Michael Jackson I saw on the stage, but this Michael Jackson was much deeper, more personal, more "familiar". He was, in many ways, just like you and me.
I think, in many ways, he felt like a close friend to many people who took the time to read, listen, and really hear. Michael was representative of humanity at it's best, and the reactions to him, humanity at it's very worst many times.
Those who knew him and fans who met him always speak of how kind and nice and caring and honest he was. Some who knew him said that he could be mean at times when he felt that things weren't being done well on a professional level. We all have within us that range of human emotion. Michael was no different. Most spoke of his constantly reminding people that he loved them and he appreciated them. His friends spoke of a father who expected his children to be kind and have good manners. You could see his faith and beliefs being lived out in how he treated others much of the time. One thing that many have shared is how there would be an exchange of "I love you's" with Michael ending the exchange with "I love you more."
I've cried as I've read his poetry. Beautiful words so honest and emotion so pure, so innocent, that strike a chord so deeply within because when I read those words, I understand how he felt when he wrote each one and the feelings that he felt, are very familiar to me in many ways. The struggle to be transparent and accepting of yourself. The risk it takes to be emotionally intimate with others. The process of learning to trust in yourself. The search for God and faith. Fear of rejection. Looking for the child within. The desire to know honest and complete love and be open to love by letting go of hurt, trusting and having faith. Aren't these struggles that we all face?
A good friend of his commented that Michael was in both constant physical and mental anguish and many have said that he never fully recovered from the 2005 trial. If I look at pictures before 2003 and those after, I see a Michael who appears sadder and more distraught many times, no doubt he loved his children dearly, he was also facing the fight of his life.
In his comment in Moonwalk, Michael mentioned that at age 29 he felt as if he should already be at the end of his life because he had been at it for so long already. I can't help but wonder if he was tired in some ways. The trials, performances, expectations and criticisms no doubt had to have affected him deeply and seemed a relentless part of his life.
Right now there is a lot of speculation and concern over his death and the condition that some saw him in. I am hoping that truth prevails in this area and that we will all find truth regarding what happened. For now, I can only feel a sense of sadness over his loss, concern over what caused that, and at the same time, a peace in knowing that he is with our Lord in Heaven, far away from all of the pain and torment that followed him his entire life.
Michael was a fellow human being who experienced the very same emotions that all of us do. Through what he shared with the world, he allowed his heart and soul to be transparent and he paid deeply for that with the criticism he sometimes received, and at the other end of the spectrum, he also received deeply from the love he got in return from his fans and all those who loved him for who he truly was.
Goodbye for now Michael. Those words are hard for me to say and the tears still come, taking me unexpectedly and fiercely at times. It still surprises me the strength of what I have felt working on this project and getting to know you more.
I still wish that I had had the chance to meet and speak with you. To tell your story more clearly by your sharing of yourself in person and not just the written and recorded word. I still wish that others had seen you for who you really were than for how poorly and inaccurately you were portrayed by the media. I ache for the pain that you went through. I feel strongly for the words you shared from your heart and soul. I celebrate your caring heart, the love that you continually showed to the world and to all people. I celebrate all that you accomplished, all that you gave of yourself.
I hope I have done the type of job with this project that will honor your memory and who you are as a person and that others will come to see and know the beauty inside. I know you mentioned so many times in interviews a deep sense of loneliness you felt because you wanted people to like you and befriend you for who you were inside, and not for being "Michael Jackson" the icon. I am so glad that Prince, Paris and Blanket were able to fill a void for you in knowing that, outside of family and dear friends, that you were deeply loved for who you are. I think it may surprise you to know that many others, including myself, feel that way as well. We love you for who you are, for what you shared, for the depths of your soul.
This has been a "birthing" experience for me as I've labored over this project. Michael Jackson, the icon, was still there with all of the talent and genius, but the cocoon opened and Michael Jackson the human being emerged and what was deep inside was even more beautiful and special. The true beauty shone forth once I got to really know you more as a person through your writings and what you shared with all of us. It is my hope that through this website, that others will experience that as well and will see just how much beauty and love were inside your soul.
In all of this, I also realize and feel the deep pain and loss for Michael's family and friends, who have lost a dear son, brother, father and friend. My heart goes out to all of you and you all remain in my thoughts and prayers.
To all of Michael's fans, I know that you too, are feeling his loss as deeply as I am. You can share your love for Michael by going to either the Site Map page or The Love tab.
I will only say, goodbye for now, Michael. We will meet again, I am certain of that. When we do, I want to give you a big hug and thank you for all that you did, all that you shared. For I am not the same person I was before I started this project and I feel that my life will never be quite the same now that I have taken the time to get to know you for who you really are. Thank you Michael. Thank you for everything you did and accomplished and for the wonderful example you set for truly loving and caring for others and using our God-given abilities and talents, to make a real difference. Love you more....