Thursday, July 30, 2009

michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 31)

it is exactly one month before your 51st day... i am sure there will be plenty of people honoring you on that day- me being one of those people. i know you didn't really celebrate those kinds of days for many years (as your spiritual practise did not allow for such events); i do not celebrate my own day either (as every day you wake up you are born). but i do not mind taking some time out to celebrate a day you were brought to us on this planet. you are my teacher, and i want to honor you accordingly.

i know you will be there with your children on that day, as you are with them every day... i am sure you know it will be a difficult time for them, as they reminisce over the virtues of your parenting skills, or how you made them laugh in front of their friends. and even though this pain, this loss is very real for them right now... when the 29th of august comes around they will remember how you shared your day with them, and they will most likely further grieve your loss. there have been times you shared this day with the world. people have reached out to you, presenting you giant cakes, cards and well wishes. there will be tears on this day. my hope is that there will also be love.

i don't think it's necessary you get a national holiday. anyone already celebrating your day will continue to do so. your name does not have to be publicly officiated by any governments to recognize the global impact you've made. we should have already seen this. the most perfect way we could honor you is to look to ways we can heal from our traumas, and to present this to our communities, and the world. if we could find ways to truly love ourselves and treat others with the same respect we reserve for ourselves- this is the best present we could give you.

i was at work today, and your image kept facing me much of the time. i just kept looking into your eyes; those big, beautiful eyes which just gazed assuredly into the camera as a popular culture powerhouse- but there was so much sadness beneath the makeup, the rhinestones and the beads. as i stared at the image the only thing i kept thinking about was your freedom. i said to myself as i looked into those eyes: 'you are free now, my teacher. you are free.'

i just watched your acceptance speeches from 1980, at the american music awards... there was a freedom you had there too- a sort of vindication. you were finally recognized as independent... as a sovereign adult, in a way. still, there was that sadness, that people did not see your range; people did not see your potential as that sovereign adult. and there must have also been the feelings you carried about yourself... i don't even think YOU realized your potential, despite the years of experience you've had, to get to the place you got to. you had a smile on your face, but in that was the pain. and with that pain came the drive to do bigger things. this is what we were speaking about yesterday: using that pain to fuel your art.

you have such a wonderful smile. it's one of those smiles that should be cherished, because you did not smile all the time. but when you did it lit up many peoples' hearts. when i looked at you from 1980, i saw myself reflected in that, that sort of looking down, not believing you are in the place you're at. no matter how many people say they love you, you never believe it. and you always strive to do better, but it's at the expense of your self-esteem. it's at the expense of that pain.

but now you are free, dear teacher. and you could now sit back and reflect upon how many people really did truly love you. i kept staring at that image at work, and i fell in love with you all over again. because your freedom gave me comfort. i ask you to be with your children right now, and give them comfort as well. i'm sure you are, but i just wanted to ask.

your humble student,

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