Saturday, June 27, 2009

The King of Pop is dead.

And the people are mourning. I am mourning.

In some ways I am grateful for this collective grief, and the way the world is answering my need to be with others who remember.

I was in my three hour class when The King passed. Facebook statuses first broke the news, then a text from a friend I thought I lost. The way our silence was traversed: "Michael Jackson just died." I could only respond with my own knowledge and my own shock. During break it was all anyone in my class could talk about-- the professor included.

In another state, my brother's friend had a dance off with the girl in the car next to him at a stop light. They were listening to the same Michael Jackson tribute.

Then this morning at Urban I heard the Jackson Five' s "ABC, easy as 123" blast from the sound speakers. I felt immediately sad, but also grateful for this music and this person that influenced, and brought pleasure to so many.

A few minutes later Jessica and I found ourselves at my neighborhood's farmer's market. An attractive hipster/granolla type selling macaroons and other pastries initiated conversation by asking us our favorite Michael Jackson song. Jessica told him that she couldn't think about it, because it made her too sad. He agreed, but said he needed to remember. We talked for some time, and in the course of that simple conversation this stranger became someone with whom we could relate, someone with whom we realized we had something in common. We were bound by our shared recognition that the world has lost someone great.

I wonder if we knew how lucky we were to have MJ while we did, or if it always requires an absence to make such things known, or at least felt.

And while we may find some behavior in his later years troubling, I hope that we can be compassionate in our remembering. I don't think we can understand the things in his life that led him to such a place, or even what we as a culture did to propagate his pain and seeming self destruction. The glass houses in which we place our icons don't always allow for the same chances in learning and growth that we would wish for ourselves.

Ultimately, I am thankful for the conscious act of remembering a life, and right now Michael's life. It suggests someone is worth remembering and that there is value in life and in existence. I think remembering also leads to healing.


1 comment:

Lisa H. said...

such a beautiful tribute, rachel. i loved it.