Five years ago today, the world became a bit sadder, a bit colder, as the death of Michael Jackson traveled around the globe. Where were you when you heard the news? Strangely enough, I remember what I was doing that day much in the same way I remember what I was doing when America was attacked by terrorists on 9/11.
Tre and I were cleaning up the apartment. I had “coerced” him into helping me get the house picked up before we had to go somewhere (that I don’t remember – ha!) but we were dancing around the house and the television was on mute and the radio blasting. We saw the news report on television where he was taken out of the ambulance at the hospital and then the news came across the radio. To say that we were stunned is putting it mildly. I watched the range of emotions play across my youngest son’s face, a little boy who idolized Michael Jackson and attempted to emulate his dance moves every chance he could. He was devastated, and it did not take long for the tears to fall from both of our eyes.
I have always felt just a wee bit sorry for Michael over the years for not having a childhood as he should have, playing with the neighborhood kids. Instead, his childhood consisted of hotel after hotel, concerts, recording studios, and traveling. It’s a wonder that he knew what part of the world he was in most days.
I was thrilled when he finally purchased his home, Neverland, in 1988. Finally this young man had a place where he could shut out the music world and be “the boy who never grows up.” Finally, this man-child had a place to live out the dreams of his childhood and the chance to be a kid again.
I have to admit, throughout the years as Michael was in and out of the media, it was interesting to watch his relationships, his marriages, and the birth of his children. The eldest of his three children, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., was born February 13, 1997, (two days and several years after my birth) and is better known as “Prince Michael” which was Michael’s nickname for him. His one and only daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, born April 3, 1998, is an aspiring performer herself. Last but not least, is little Blanket, born Prince Michael Jackson II on February 21, 2002. Prince and Paris have the same mother, Debbie Rowe, and Blanket’s mother’s name is unknown to the public at least.
I have often wondered, since Michael had custody of the children at the time of his death, whether or not their mothers stepped in and helped them through the difficult period after Michael’s passing. In 2009, they were only 12, 11, and 7 years old – tender ages to be having to deal with the death of a parent.
The Jackson family rallied around them and took them in and helped them – but having your grandparents and aunts and uncles is not the same as having your mom or dad there. It helps, but it just isn’t the same. There are times when you just need Mom to be there, and I’ve always been curious as to whether their mothers were there for them.
Michael’s three children – thanks to the efforts of their grandmother – Katherine Jackson – have been able to lead a relatively normal childhood thankfully.
Attending school, dealing with homework and getting good grades, doing your daily chores, and having fun with your friends, all elements of childhood, are intertwined with their rare television appearances and interviews. It is almost as though Katherine is doing everything possible to ensure their childhood has no parallels to Michael’s childhood.
Life After Death
The musical world was buzzing about the 2014 Billboard Music Awards this year, advertising “Michael Jackson like you’ve never seen him before – you do not want to miss it!” I was watching, and all the hype was spot on. An amazing performance, 5 years after his death, of Slave to the Rhythm by Michael Jackson.
So in closing, today on the 5 year anniversary of Michael’s passing, whether you’re a fan or not, turn on the radio, log into your favorite music app, and listen to the music from the man who touched millions of hearts with his music and lyrics. Leave a comment below and let us know what your favorite Michael Jackson song is.