So I think I've been a little bit in shock about the death of Michael Jackson, and it's only now setting in that it's real. Admittedly, at first I was so devastated by the loss of Farrah Fawcett that I initially felt a tinge of anger at Jackson's passing for overshadowing hers.
I'm only 23, obviously after Farrah's time - but regardless of age, she is the complete iconic image of the 70's era. When someone my age thinks "70's", you think "Farrah." The smile, the way she shone, that hair - when I look at her the way she was, I imagine my mom and her sisters being the same age, wearing the same clothes and experiencing the same decade.
No one truly understands what battling cancer is like unless they've done it - and I can, unfortunately, count myself among those who do. I had cancer at age 11, and for a year I fought for my life while being poisoned to death. I can't imagine doing it for 2 years, knowing deep down the fight is futile. But Farrah, like a champion, battled on courageously despite the hopelessness, and was brave enough to share her experience with the world so that maybe more people will have themselves screened for cancers frequently and save lives.
Rest in peace, beautiful angel.
Now that it's had a chance to sink in, the loss of Jackson is starting to get to me. My mother and her sisters danced to the Jackson 5 when she was fresh out of high school. 20 years later, her daughter would be doing the same. One of my parents' most fond memories of my childhood is from when I was between 1-2 years old. They recall me standing in front of the TV every time the "Bad" video came on, dancing like crazy and singing along. Then one day during a visit to my grandfather's workplace, there was a poster of Jackson on the wall. I ran over to it, all excited, pointed and said, "Oh no, I bad!"
I don't remember much along the lines of music and television throughout my early childhood, but I remember very clearly waiting in anticipation for the movie-like, epic productions that were his music videos. Watching Black or White and Remember the Time this weekend, I'm instantly taken back to being a kid pre-cancer, when my mom and dad and I were playing hard and having so much fun, and I wish so badly I could go back. Through every facet of my life, every hardship, every celebration, Michael Jackson was there.
For my mother, the older videos of the Jackson 5 appearing on Ed Sullivan and American Bandstand bring back flooding memories of her sister, Janet, who at only 19 mos. younger than my mother was her best friend growing up. In August 07, we lost our Janet when she was killed by her husband the day after filing for divorce. Missing her now more than ever now that this has happened, my mom is really depressed.
I think what most of us are grieving over now is the total loss of someone so prominent in our lives for so long - it feels like part of our pasts, our entire lives, is gone forever. Now that he's dead, we can never get those times back. Losing Farrah and Ed McMahon on top of it, it's like huge staples in our daily lives for so long have vanished and those days are far behind us. With the world as it is now, I think we all long for those better days.
And it's a loss for America - he may have been a bit of a freak, but he was OUR freak... A little boy from the middle of nowhere, Indiana who grew up to be the world's most famous entertainer, he belonged to all of us, our crazy little Michael.
Suddenly, I feel very sad... And I even cry slightly, like right now, and I guess it's weird that I am, but I can't help it.
So today, I paid my own little tribute to him, 20 years after dancing to that video in the first year of my life, I got in the car, put the windows down, and blasted "Bad" as loudly as I could as I drove across town.
Goodbye, Michael. I hope you are finally at peace.