Five years ago on this day a man who was and remains special to me exited this world. It was the ultimate shock, even though I had dreamt of just those circumstances, him dying suddenly, more times than I dare to admit now. Those dreams would inevitably lead to me crying in my sleep and shaking myself awake. Then I would check the news to make sure he was still alive, and he was, so I sighed in relief. Until five years ago, when he wasn’t.
And I cried then too, heaving sobs that shook my frame and awakened me in other ways. You see, he died because he was in massive pain, both physical and emotional. He just wanted to ease that pain, and he went too far. His doctor let him go too far because he was who he was, and because he had a special series of shows coming up that he wanted to be prepared for, a series of shows that never happened instead.
I sat in my bedroom with wet eyes for a solid week afterwards, leaving only to work. Those days were warm ones, though, because I wasn’t just mourning. I was remembering, and I was feeling. That’s one thing he always did for me (and still does). He makes me feel these deep emotions that I didn’t think were possible. And I don’t expect anyone else to understand, all those poseurs who sat vigil by the shrine that sprang up overnight, all those sudden fans who declared their devotion when just the week before they were demeaning him.
Michael was always, for me, more than a phenomenon, more than an enigma, more than a fantastic dream. Michael was always a part of my soul, and he still is, five years after his death. I think back to that dark time, and what brought me out of it was always Michael. Forever Michael. I sat there in my bedroom and listened to his music nonstop, from Invincible, to Bad, to Dangerous, to Thriller, to Blood on the Dance Floor, to HIStory, to Off the Wall, to every single one of his young albums, and the records with his brothers. I saturated myself with Michael because as he always has been for me, he was the salve for my ills.
Five years later he is as present to me as he ever was, his music speaks volumes to me and to others about me. Michael and I always had a kindred spirit, and I celebrate that now and always. I don’t expect anyone else to truly understand, and that’s okay, because just as it has always been me and Michael, it will always be me and Michael. Today I am listening to XScape, the latest posthumous album from the legend himself, and I am inspired all over again.
I just keep telling myself that he’s no longer in pain, that his time had come earlier than I expected, but right when it should have, the same way it will happen with me, right when it should it will happen. I just hope I inspire something in others the way he inspires me still.