“TO DIE WILL BE AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE.”
James M. Barrie
For some, the long goodbye has a duration of years, disease ultimately winning, demanding an end. For others the goodbye is unexpected, an abrupt, life-changing visit, compelling in its harsh chaos. “Perhaps loving something is the only starting place there is for making your life your own.” Alice Koller Each of us has a love story to tell and with that telling will inevitably come goodbye, causing us to meet our vulnerabilities face to face. Sigmund Freud taught that out of vulnerability comes strength. For me, the loss of my parents, the loss of friends, the loss of adored pets were all visited in different durations of goodbyes. All brought an ache that reclaims my heart still. “There is a poignancy and power to beauty nearly spent. It holds the remnant of what it was, and its fading grandeur reminds us that we die to bloom again. We are gone to seed, according to plan.” Julia Cameron WALKING IN THIS WORLD.
We will all be invited to join in on the BIG ADVENTURE one day. And when that happens, we might ask how we will be remembered. Michael Jackson was asked that question often and he replied, “How would I like to be remembered? As a person who came and brought light to the world, some escapism. Also as the voice for the voiceless children, because I love them. I’m living for the children. If it weren’t for the kids, I would throw in the towel. A baby, a child-now that’s amazing. They’re little geniuses, you know, little geniuses. They really are. Being a father is my favorite thing. I love it. I love it. I love it.” Gold Magazine, England, Interview 2002.
Michael’s life supplies light to a world in great need of it. “In order to carry out great enterprises, one must live as if one will never have to die.” Marquis De Vauvenargues Michael’s enterprises on behalf of children and the planet were undertaken with no thought of failure, no concern for the status quo, and, no end in sight. He subscribed to Goethe’s theory, “That which we understand we can’t blame.”
“Ryan White, an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1984 when he was just thirteen years old…White was often teased and threatened at school, and when the threats turned to violence, his family was forced to leave their hometown. White subsequently became a spokesperson for AIDS education (AIDS was deeply misunderstood and feared at the time). Michael Jackson befriended Ryan White in 1989. In the final years of White’s short life, the two spent many days together at Neverland, forming a deep bond and friendship. ‘He didn’t care what race you were, what color you were, what was your handicap, what was your disease.’ recalled White’s mother, Jeanne, ‘Michael just loved all children.’ White died in 1990 just before graduating from High School. GONE TOO SOON and its accompanying video, a montage of White’s life, was Jackson’s tribute to him and his cause. One can never choose to forget how much vitriolic hate was spewed against AIDS patients at the height of the virus’s transmission. Jackson released his tribute at a time in the 1990’s when I can’t recall many, if any, artists willing to talk about or discuss AIDS publicly. ” Joseph Vogel, Jason King MAN IN THE MUSIC
“THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT-ELECT, FOR INVITING ME TO YOUR INAUGURATION GALA. I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT FROM THIS VERY PUBLIC CEREMONY TO SPEAK OF SOMETHING VERY PERSONAL. IT CONCERNS A DEAR FRIEND OF MINE WHO IS NO LONGER WITH US. HIS NAME IS RYAN WHITE. HE WAS A HEMOPHILIAC WHO WAS DIAGNOSED WITH THE AIDS VIRUS WHEN HE WAS ELEVEN. HE DIED SHORTLY AFTER TURNING 18, THE VERY TIME MOST YOUNG PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING TO EXPLORE LIFE’S WONDERFUL POSSIBILITES. MY FRIEND, RYAN, WAS A VERY BRIGHT, VERY BRAVE AND VERY NORMAL YOUNG MAN WHO NEVER WANTED TO BE A SYMBOL OR THE SPOKESPERSON FOR A DEADLY DISEASE. OVER THE YEARS, I’VE SHARED MANY SILLY, HAPPY AND PAINFUL MOMENTS WITH RYAN AND I WAS WITH HIM AT THE END OF HIS BRIEF BUT EVENTFUL LIFE. RYAN IS GONE, AND JUST AS ANYONE WHO HAS LOST A LOVED ONE TO AIDS, I MISS HIM DEEPLY AND CONSTANTLY. HE’S GONE, BUT I WANT HIS LIFE TO HAVE MEANING BEYOND HIS PASSING. IT’S MY HOPE, PRESIDENT-ELECT CLINTON, THAT YOU AND YOUR ADMINISTRATION COMMIT THE RESOURCES NEEDED TO ELIMINATE THIS AWFUL DISEASE THAT TOOK MY FRIEND AND ENDED SO MANY PROMISING LIVES BEFORE THEIR TIME. THIS SONG IS FOR YOU, RYAN.”
CLINTON INAUGURAL JANUARY 20, 1993
Or child of innocence, messenger of love
Where are you now, where have you gone?
Ryan White, I miss your sunny days
We carelessly frolicked in extended plays
I miss you, Ryan White
I miss your smile, innocent and bright
I miss your glory, I miss your light
Child of Irony, or child of fiction?
I think of your shattered life
Of your struggle, of your strife
While ladies dance in the moonlit night
Champagne parties on chartered cruises
I see your wasted form, your ghostly sight
I feel your festering wounds, your battered bruises
Ryan White, symbol of agony and pain
Of ignorant fear gone insane
In a hysterical society
With free-floating anxiety
And feigned piety
I miss you, Ryan White
You showed us how to stand and fight
In the rain you were a cloudburst of joy
In the depths of your anguished sorrow
Was the dream of another tomorrow.
DANCING THE DREAM
Both Michael and Ryan are now drifting in the brilliance of an awfully big adventure. As our lives swirled in their unexpected goodbyes, each exemplified God’s image, their great love offering miracles to this world. In the freedom of their lives, each used burdens as…”the opportunity to give expression to Divinity on earth. When we choose to honor this priceless gift, we participate in the recreation of the world.” Julie Cameron Each chose this honor.
In Heaven Leigh’s book, ANGEL MICHAEL ORACLES, Ryan speaks on behalf of his friend…“Michael is like a being so far from what anyone in your world can seem to imagine that a human could be. He shook you all up! He isn’t complicated folks! He came to make people smile and believe in magic again. You all have gotten so far away from believing in goodness and magic. Sure you have to watch out for the ‘bad guys,’ the ones who are troubled inside and visit their troubles on others. That is so far from who Michael was and is. I wish you could know him, know his heart like I did and like I do and always will. He had a messed up childhood in some ways. Some people have pain in their childhoods and they decide to get all angry. They are suspicious of everyone and trust nobody. Michael took his pain and turned it inside out to help other kids to have happy childhoods, no matter how sick or hurt or hungry they were. He wanted to help them. Some people cannot fathom this kind of unselfishness. They look for other motives. It says more about the people accusing Michael than it does about Michael. Don’t you get it? Don’t let them fool you, please. It’s important to me.” RYAN WHITE’S SPIRIT MESSAGE
I often think, if only I could turn back time…bring back the ones I love and hold on tight. They were GONE TOO SOON and I wish with all my being I could change that. But then, would I be denying them a great adventure…would I be denying Willa Cather when she says, “WHERE THERE IS GREAT LOVE, THERE ARE ALWAYS MIRACLES.”
Michael understood the people of the world were warm and fertile beds in which to sow his seeds of love and peace and humanity and justice. Unconditional love was always his starting place. A part of his great adventure NOW is watching our germination.
And so, amidst our goodbyes, we seek to change the world, making a little space to make a better place. HEAL THE WORLD. I love you, Michael! I love you my Dear Friends.