Sunday, June 28, 2009

This blog post is not about Michael...

"Do You Remember
Those Special Times
They'll Just Go On And On
In The Back Of My Mind"
-Michael Jackson

Ok, straight up, this post isn't about Michael ... Though, given the last few days, everything seems to come back to Michael.

This post is about life, my life - and fears, and death and life, and the passage of time. In a strange discordant of time, I left Flint on Thursday having valiantly outrun one or two storms that pushed through town. Within 15 minutes on the road, I was flippin on my headlights and hitting maximum wipe with the windshield blades. All that avoiding and I still ran smack dab into the mother of all storms.

I was heading to Diane's birthday weekend, celebrating 50 years, as hard it is to believe. I met Diane when I was 16, maybe 17, making her and Shari my longest, closest friends. On the way, I was stopping to pick up Shari, with barely enough time to make it to the first event. However, Mama Storm had other plans. The black clouds and accompanied downpour followed me the whole darn way.

I don't like storms. I don't like driving in storms. But this storm seemed different. I wasn't afraid. Rather than concern myself with something I could do nothing about - the high winds, the flash floods sweeping over US23 - I thought a lot about the friends I was about to see, our histories, the so-many laughs, and the too-many cries. Despite the rain, the thunder, the lightening, the flash floods, the vehicles stopped all along the road - I was at peace, a strange warm peace that seemed full of reflection and anticipation of truly good things to come.

For the record, I always get a little melancholy at the end of a school year. It seems I'm always pushing to get there - as if it is some glorious finish line - but once I cross over, I quickly turn around and see all the wonderful things now behind me. So much seems to happen on the path between September and June, between toddlers and teenagers, between 1959 and 2009...

And, frankly, at each bend in the journey, I look back and fear the ride will never, ever be that great again...

But I digress...

Shari says she "lives in the moment" and resents it when I check my txt messages, especially when I am driving. For the record, I do not think it is dangerous to check your txt messages while stopped for a train. She does apparently, and grabbed my phone. She looked at it and queried, "What is this anyway? CNNBRK?" And the phone goes dark. I ask her to give it to me and I will tell her - she says no and hides it. (As if THAT isn't dangerous considering my "attachment" to my phone!) In my mind, of course, I know I received a tweet about some national breaking news. As a worried mother whose two children were left in Flint, I immediately ponder if it could possibly involve my only daughter or my only son.

When Shari steps out of the car to check into the hotel, I grab the phone to discover the breaking news was Michael Jackson's cardiac arrest. At the time, it was unclear if he had passed. Great! Now I had to tell Shari who just happens to be the most loyal MJ fan you can imagine. She stuck with him through every allegation, through every marriage, through every even-stranger story. Now I had to tell her that he might not be sticking with us...

By the time we arrived at Diane's, the breaking news had gone from bad to worse. We rushed into her house, barely hugging the birthday girl, her two beautiful daughters and/or husband. We flipped on CNN and sat glued to it for the next hour (or was it two?). At one point, I glanced up at my longest, closest friend and apologized. It wasn't exactly the way I had planned to acknowledge her 50th birthday, especially since Jackson was 50.


The passing of Michael Jackson has raised many different emotions in me. It's difficult to watch the clips of him as a youngster, full of life, growing to be a man with throngs of people following his every move. His fall. The allegations. I remember living through all of that. We all did. I sat glued to MTV time and time again to watch "Thriller." A boyfriend teased me all the time with "Gotta be Startin Something." My cousin and I loved to sing about the rat named "Ben." I remember watching "Do you remember the time" and being fascinated.

While Farrah Fawcett may be upset with the timing of Michael's death, Diane has showed no signs of disappointment in having to share the spotlight with a same-aged icon who happened to die on her birthday weekend. For me, when all is said and done, I think his passing added even more meaning to Diane's celebration. We are reminded our lives pass quickly - so quickly. That life is truly a gift. That when we think the world has turned against us - like Michael most likely believed - they probably haven't.

I hope he is able to see that he made his comeback after all...

Ok, so I guess this post was about Michael...

"Those Sweet Memories
Will Always Be Dear To Me"