Rest in peace…

I’ve always heard the expression “rest in peace.” I’ve probably even said it myself on a few occasions. But, in the case of Michael Jackson, I say it and I really mean it. Really feel it. He was clearly a tortured and sensitive soul who suffered at the hands of others at a very young age and throughout his early years. Maybe we’ll never know what really went on behind those doors at the House of Jackson but we can be sure that it was not something good.

Who could forget watching MJ transform over the years through the plastic surgeries, odd marital choices, odd everything choices, and bizarre behavior.

Somehow with his passing though, all of the weirdness that has predominated the media for way too long has melted away quietly and all we can seem to remember is what a GENIUS MJ was.  How much he brought to the music scene — his dancing, his songs, his videos – unparalleled. During my CNN obsession last night I heard an insight that really stuck with me. One that I hadn’t considered before. Michael transcended color. Before Oprah, before Barack Obama, there was the Jackson Five and MJ on national television for all the world to see. These glorious performers making us all run to our televisions to start grooving in our family rooms.

With all this said, I was still very surprised at how hard the news of his passing hit me. Untimely deaths are easily more impactful but there was such a deep sadness and heart pounding stress which took me by surprise. And, then it made sense thanks to another great musician, John Mayer, who said” I think we’ll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player.” Yes! That’s it. We all grew up with him. He represents something for all of us – for anyone who listened to music. And, who didn’t? Back in the day, there weren’t itunes, there weren’t a million pop artists to access at every turn or click. It was the record player and the record store and a few big names – The Beatles, Elvis, and Michael Jackson.

Since his passing a little more than 24 hours ago, I’ve been immersed in nostalgia, reminiscing about all the great times I had with Michael. There was roller skating at the Paramus Roller Rink on Friday nights at age 14 endless circling the rink, nearly floating to the sounds of “Don’t Stop till you Get Enough.” There was the huge poster I placed directly above my pillow to keep the beat going in my sleep. I was 18 now. That poster traveled with me to college. Then there were all the glorious hot summers, driving down to the Jersey Shore in my ’77 Toyota Corolla with the amped up stereo system blaring “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and <sniff sniff> “I’ll Be There.” I can almost smell the sea air.

During my 20s, I recall so many weekends where me and my BFF hit up the night clubs and danced until closing to the tune of “Gotta Be Startin’ Something” and “PYT.” Oh, “PYT.” I’ve missed you so.

And, finally, during my last few years of being single in the late 90s and having since relocated to San Francisco, there were the glorious nights at Nikki’s Barbecue in the Haight. The no-frills hole in the wall pocket of funk that drew way more than the fire code would probably allow. The DJ was a big MJ lover and at any given point during the night he would pull out the classics and the house CAME DOWN. I’m talking dancing on the tables, chairs, barstools, bar…sweat pouring down…such freedom.

I haven’t thought about Michael too much in recent years what with getting married, having a kid and perhaps, maybe,  having let the scandals taint my feelings a bit.  But today, all I can think about is how much he gave to all of us and how much he’ll be missed.

Michael, may you find the peace in your passing that you never seemed to find while living and if there is an after life, may it grant you the childhood you so deserved.

This is how I will ALWAYS remember you.

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One Response to “Rest in peace…”

  1. I hadn’t heard that John Mayer quote, but it is exactly how I felt. My facebook status that day was “My 10 year old self is in mourning.”

    Great post!

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