With the fifth anniversary of Michael’s untimely passing closing in on us, I can’t help but wonder how quickly the years have passed. It seems like only yesterday and yet, when I allow my mind to drift back to June 25th 2009 and then look ahead from there, I realize that five years are by no means “yesterday.”So much has happened.
The world is a different place today than it was five years ago. I am a different person and so are you. Life is a constant evolution – for better or for worse.
In these five years, I have also crossed paths with fans from all over the world. A few have remained friends, but for the vast majority the rule seems to be that we cross paths, talk awhile and then walk on toward new horizons.
And it is okay.
It is the way it is supposed to be.
Michael’s death was just the stone that rippled the surface of the pond, bringing us all together around one single focal point. However, when the stone was gone below the surface, the ripples started widening, carrying us away from one another.
Life goes on.
Still, Michael’s music keeps on playing. The Estate have just released “Xscape” and managed to create such a positive hype that old songs and albums once again climb up the charts 30 years after they were released. This means that not only are people buying his music to complete their collection they are also starting a collection. Michael is breaking new ground, getting new followers, gaining ever more recognition for the very thing he wanted to be judged upon; his music.
This is absolutely wonderful.
Unfortunately there’s another not so wonderful constant.
Five years after his death, the amount of (bull)shit hitting the fan has not decreased and although Michael is not here to witness the attacks on his character, his children are and so, I wish those people would stop for just long enough to wonder how their own children would feel if their daddies were accused of such terrible acts. Yes, I know… It is naïve to think they would stop. The prospect of becoming rich has the same effect on the human brain as alcohol.
There is one little redeeming factor, though: The choir of those willing to believe everything when it comes to Michael is not singing quite as loudly as it once did.
It is just a small change in the volume, barely audible, but it is there. And you know what? This makes me just as happy as seeing Michael’s music on the charts, because it means there is hope that one day the choir might not be there to back up the people who are looking to make a fortune by dragging Michael’s name through the mud.
I may not live to see the day, but I hope his children will.
I thought I would never say this, but five years do have an effect on the sense of loss too. Yes, I still miss seeing articles of him out and about on a shopping spree in Beverly Hills and I miss the excitement of waiting for him to show up on stage at an award show to collect his millionth award, but accepting that it will never happen again does not have that awful sting to it that it once did.
It has been a slow process, so slow that I was not really aware of it until I read a tweet a little while ago. Someone wrote that she wanted the number of roses at Forest Lawn to increase every year. It is a beautiful thought indeed, but as I sat there staring at it, I realized that although I would probably have agreed with her last year, I didn’t anymore. Now, it is not that I do not want the steps leading up to the mausoleum to be blanketed in roses. I do. It is an absolutely wonderful tribute, which I support myself. It is just that I no longer feel the need to hold on to the idea that the success of the tribute depends on the number of roses given.
One rose can be more powerful than ten thousand too.
So, let the ripples widen… Let go.
We can’t hold on to what was forever.
Michael was not ready to go, but I sometimes wonder what he would have written, if he had been given the chance to write his own epitaph. It is hard to say and in fact, I am sure any guess on my part would be wrong, which is probably the reason why I always end up at something one of my favorite Danish writers once said; something so simple and yet so grand that I think most of us would agree that this how we all want to be remembered: With a smile.
“Smile, when you think of me.”