MICHAEL JACKSON

This is the longest I’ve gone without blogging for some time. But sometimes you just have to let life play itself out without comment. Like so many people, I have been in a wash of images and feelings about Michael Jackson. I knew him as well as one could know him during the time before he did “The Wiz” and up through “Thriller.” I couldn’t pretend to understand him. There were so many complicated signals. Did he want me to be his ‘older women’ friend. He gravitated to older women. For solace? Succor? A beard? Did he want me to teach him the ropes? I never could quite figure it out. But I remember one day he was visiting me at my ranch north of Santa Barbara. It was the first time he had been in that region but he must have liked it because later he bought his ranch in that same area. Anyway, as we walked around the ranch which was perched right at the edge of the mountain overlooking Goleta, I pointed to a spot where I told him I wanted to be buried. Michael had a melt down right then and there when he heard this. He shrieked and bent over and said “no, no, no!” “ What’s the matter,” I asked. “Don’t ever talk about your dying,” he answered. “Don’t ever think about it.”

I think about death all the time. I rehearse my death. I think that’s a healthy thing to do. Death, after all, is what gives life meaning the way noise gives meaning to silence. Ooooh, I thought to myself, Michael will have a hard time of it as he ages. He will spend all his energy trying to flee what is inevitable. And now it’s happened. I like the fact that it was quick. Massive heart attacks that you don’t recover from are quick. You don’t know what hit you. That’s probably the kindest death for Michael. It’s hard to imagine him being happy as he aged. One more demon to try and evade. I like to think he’s happy now, free of his demons. Free and floating and knowing how his art continues to be revered and celebrated by all of us all over the world. It will continue.

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181 Comments
  1. Wow, your quote really moved me. Very insightful and hopeful. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I’ve shared this post on my twitter. It is a profound one. May MJ rest in peace…

  3. You sait it all… may he rest in peace.

  4. I grew up watching Michael and loved his dancing and music. As we both grew older, I still enjoyed him as an entertainer but got tired of the antics. But yet he provided a major part to the soundtrack of my life. His music gave me incredible energy & joy. I felt sad when I heard he died. I never knew him, but yet felt the real pain of loss. He’s free of the torments (and tormentors) he suffered on earth.

    His amazing spirit lives on.

  5. Beautiful and Honest! What a gorgeous eulogy and musings on life, aging, and mortality!!!!

  6. Hi Jane

    I’ve been reading all the responses to your blog today.
    It’s fascinating to read about how people feel about
    the life and death issues. And it is great that through
    your printed thought – you are really pushing the psychological and spiritual buttons that need to be pushed.

    I never used to really think much about how events
    and experiences out there in the world could colour my life so dramatically. I was just a busy optimistic Sagitarian running around doing my thing. As I get older, I am
    slowing the pace so that I can find and appreciate the lessons and the wisdom behind things such as Michael Jackson’s death…..

    Thanks for some of your great insights.

    Catherine

  7. This reply will get lost in the pile, but I just wanted to express my support of your healthy attitude towards facing death. I think confronting the inevitable eventuality of death is far healthier than the usual practice of avoiding even talking about it. My late mother was always making statements about matters of relevance when or after she died, and although I didn’t want to face the idea of not having her with me in life at the time, I now recognize how healthy and balanced she was to face facts and plan for her eventual death. (She also told me there was room at the cemetery plot for me, if I wanted to be buried there.) She had her business and personal affairs in order at the time of her death, which made matters infinitely easier for my brother and myself. Although I am still grieving for her, I admire her inner strength and tenacity in facing the eventuality of her death while she was still vital, and I only hope to eventually match her strength of character and spirit. She is my hero.

    • Thank you for sharing x I’m sure you were her hero too x

  8. Your story about Micheal Jackson with humor and fine tuned insight is just as I’d imagine him to be.
    Micheal needed an open heart and he found one in you.
    You are a keeper of the truth and I’m sure MJ admired your truth and kind of brought him back to reality while in your company.
    His truth reminded him of is childhood trama. So I guess he chose the fantasy life for protection.
    If he had known of your troubled childhood you may have been able to help him empower himself.
    I don’t believe we die. We just move on. This is a Earth school for learning and working on remembering our completness. We come from a place of perfection we just need to remember our perfection.
    Life is like making your own personal movie that you watch on the otherside to figure out what you improve on or work on next. You see the good and the not so good. And you may come back to work through some things here again or go on to something new.
    Graduation time.
    There is no judgement in the spirit world. We are the ones who have to live with what we’ve done. And we are responsible to make the changes needed.
    This is all our higher power asks.
    I believe Micheal is watching his movie now and will be working on healing his heart. And planing his next journey. With his guides and loved ones. And of course the ONENESS of ALL.

    • I felt I needed to respond to the comment made” there is”no judgement in the spirit world”. But there is everyone forgets that there is one man that came vulnerably to this world as a child for you and me. He died and rose again from the dead. That was Jesus! No one has ever conquered the grave. He is the only one who will judge you when you die, everything your doing now is a resume for your role in heaven. He does forgive and forget because He knows our heart. There is nothing out there that you can put your trust in. I don’t know your religious preference, but I do know I have researched different cults & religions and there is not one that Loves, accepts and welcomes us with open arms like our Lord & savior! and we don’t need to do anything. All we are asked to do is accept the gift He offers; “Salvation” We are saved from darkness, from being seperated from Him. That’s why there are so many lost people. people use drugs and alcohol to mask the pain & shame.

      I too grew up with Michael Jackson and am deeply saddened. He had the world in his hand, yet he was so alone, lost and hurt. I know if He would have had a relationship with Jesus his outcome would have been different. I know because I went through a very broken and hurt childhood and it continued into my adult life. If Jesus hadn’t found me, Broken & disgusted. I wouldn’t be here today to share this with you. Make no mistake there is a heaven and a hell. The enemy is causing havic in todays world. There is a spiritual tug of war going on with God’s children. We are all His children.
      I know from what I have studied, that we will all give God account of our life and He ultimately will decide our outcome. I am glad that the God I serve is loving,merciful,graceful and very forgiving! This is the same God that accepted Michael Jackson into His loving arms. He took his pain, sorrow away. He knew everything he went through and what a great person he was, inspite of what anyone thought about him. The Lord doesn’t keep score like we humans do.

      Earthkeeper I will pray that this interruption in our lives, that’s what it is in God’s kingdom, that this will touch each & every person to think about “what happens when I die? Where will I end up? I think it’s very important that we know. We are not ‘slime” that dropped in by “chance”.We were each created for a purpose. Many people don’t like to deal with it because they are scared or have no knowledge.That’s what “No” means , No really means “know” We don’t have knowledge that’s what we humans fear,the unknown.We we are very special to our creator, God. He does care and wants us to know How much He loves us and no one is a mistake! The bible tells us;”before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you(it means “to be set apart”)Jer 1:5

      God Bless You earthkeeper.

      Sally

  9. Saw Michael grow up… still too soon. Anyway. thanks Ms Fonda for your enligtenment about Michael…

  10. i agree – i loved “the bucket list” and had a major surgery after that so believe in living fully, as you could die anyday- i have the song picked out for my funeral-its a happy song-lots of people dont like it when i talk about it- but its my funeral and i want it my way- i want people to believe i am in a better place, and im at peace. the song is “pocketful of sunshine”.
    shine on michael, shine on!
    yes, love him or not, he was talented! he was a sad torchered soul and probably is happier now-RiP

  11. Wow, Jane, you are a good writer. I can’t say that I’ve seen any of your movies or followed your career [I am 25 years old] but I felt enveloped in your pathos and POV when I read your blog on Perez’s site. Powerful to say the least.

  12. sorry, I’m the D from before — I was trying to match your level of intelligence by using the word “pathos”, but I think I used in incorrectly. But I still loved your text — the part of about thinking about death, the silence line — so powerful, I had to print it out. It really inspired me to get more out of my life, to enjoy it more, to think about it more. Thnk you, Jane.

  13. I am so relieved to find I am not the only one who rehearses their death. Not quite as morbid as I thought.

  14. Hello, Jane!
    I am Brazilian and I felt the unexpected journey of Michael. He rest in peace.
    Ok! Jane, you are a good writer.
    Sincerely,
    Benny Franklin,
    (Belém, Amazônia, Brasil)

  15. Wow Jane, what a thoughtful pos thank you for sharing the story…I guess by thinking of death everyday, it allows you to embrace life even more.

  16. MJ was quoted in late 2007 as saying:

    “Music has been my outlet, my gift to all of the lovers in this world. Through it, my music, I know I will live forever.”

    When I came across above quote, I felt happier for him somehow.

  17. Perfect!

    I,m Brazilian, and here we are very sad about MJ death.

    On the TV, radio and internet, everyone just are talking about MJ.

    I don’t know how to write in Ingles as well as i would like it. but i can understand how Michael Jacson was important a long the world.

    Michael, you was the guy on the Earth. But now you are the a bright spirit.
    Beijos aqui do Brasil, e fiquem com Deus!

  18. Dear Jane, I never met Michael, but I love all his work. What a tallent we have lost. I enjoyed your writing, but I do not share the same vision that his death was a gentle. There’s only one way to achieve that, which is rendering ourselves to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That’s a gentle death! If he has done that, he is for sure free of his demons and living eternally in the presence of God.

  19. Hmmm, I never thought of it that way before. About how this was the best way he could go. Oddly that made me feel a bit better. Thank you for that.

  20. Hi Jane ,I m like you but I got sick twice in my life , one time I almost die and I was thinking that it’s because of that.But for me I even ask my children who they want to be with when I die before they turn 18 years.Now My son just finish High School and he is going to University of Texas,thanks be to God.Thanks again Ms F Jane.

  21. Thank You for sharing this with us! He really was special and so are you.

  22. Thank-You so much for sharing.
    I keep looking and looking for reasons of what happened to him-
    I think you hit the nail of the head–getting older was difficult for him I believe.
    I am the same age as him (1958) I had a huge Heart Attack right on my 50th Birthday(fun?NO!!!) followed by quad bypass surgery.
    So I survived.
    I swear I worked myself into it I was soooo anxious about turning 50!
    It seems so many in my age group are having issues with age–I myself am having the same problem and I just figured it out-like Oprahs AHA MOMENTS- Thanks Jane!!! now I have a point to start from to understand myself.
    I too also have chronic pain like MJ it is all connected-it is HARD to get old and be in PAIN.
    By the way you look terrific!

  23. My mother is dying. She has dementia so it is difficult to talk with her about her death. She knows she is dying. It is hard but there is beauty. We just moved into a house next door to the cemetary in our little southwest. Texas town. Everyday people come visit and tend to graves of loved ones. Whole families come and set up lawn chairs and hang out around grave markers. They even use the cemetery roads as a walking track making rounds in their sweats and running shoes. I have always found it comforting the way the Mexican culture treats death. I find it especially so now.

  24. Jane,
    Thanks for your insight into Michael Jackson. Based on how he changed his physical appearance, he does not seem to ever have gained happiness with his looks. And unfortunately his looks and lifestyle detracted from society’s ability to appreciate his talent. Too bad it has taken his death to bring his music back to life for many of us – me included. I too hope and believe he is now at peace.

  25. Very interesting story about MJ! Thank you for sharing!

  26. Increible, no puedes imaginar cuanto lo queremos!!! los seres humanos cuando son buenos entran en conflicto con la realidad que no los sabe comprender..

  27. jane, your eloquence and grace shines through everything you write – this is certainly the best tribute to michael i have read, and i’m sure he greatly cherished your friendship. you are a wonderful person.

  28. I’m just a few years older than Michael, but it still astounds me he was ’50’. In my mind, I ‘time warped’ him.

  29. I am a new singer/songwriter. I wrote this song in January, as if I knew we would lose some prominent people this year. The chorus came to me as I attended the funeral of a 14 year old girl who died of cancer. Her life was short, but we are all put on this earth for a purpose. MJ will be missed.

  30. Thank you for sharing Jane, that was very beautiful. Michael Jackson will continue to live on and inspire and entertain others.

  31. Ms. Fonda;

    I have been a great admirer of yours for years, read your autobiography and follow your blog. Most of the time I understand what you are saying and I agree.
    However – how does one ”rehearse” their death? I don’t get it.
    Holly

  32. To be honest, I think (sadly) that we lost the real Michael Jackson a long time ago. He lost his way, and himself. When he held his child over the balcony and with all the talk about him, some confirmed, some not, you have to wonder about his state of mind. We have lost a great many stars lately, enough.

  33. Jane! Jane! Jane! I know this is absolutely off-topic–and I may reply about michael jackson at some point– he was not my favorite anything, but I would love for you to address something. Recently, a journalist, Christopher de la Torre–i am so going about this in a long round about way–commissioned me to write a piece a bout Stonewall and the gay movement for his series “40 years after stonewall.” So anyway, I have been reading one of the other contributors to this series–a Mr. John Knoebel, a founding member of the GLF. Well, as I have been reading de la Torre’s interview with Knoebel–Knoebel spoke about a meeting that was arranged at your apartment in 1970 between the GLF and Huey P. Newton and others in the Black Panther party. I would sooo love to hear about this….Maybe this does have something to do with Michael Jackson. Anyway, cheers! Do tell!

  34. Dear Jane–I think you should definitely read this piece.

    http://christopherdelatorre.com/2009/07/02/40-years-after-stonewall-part-3-john-knoebel/

  35. I have to agree. I think that Michael Jackson had a lot of issues. I also think that he was a homosexual. Id love to hear thoughts on that.

    • I agree Brandon, I think that’s probably why Joe Jackson might have been more harsh with him then the rest of his sons. He didn’t want a little “fairy” in the family which a close minded way of thinking and the way a lot of people thought in his day. He basically didn’t know how to love his son properly and turned Michael into the tortured man he was. God gave Joe a gift but he didn’t know how to nurture and appreciate it and now he’s gone.

      If you’re going to be a parent you should really try to love your children regardless of their sexual orientation. I think one of the reasons Michael suffered so much abuse in his life was partly because he might have been gay. I think he was made to hate himself for it and his looks. (particularly his nose) Something like cutting thy nose off to spite thy face.

      I think you’ll find that many homosexuals are blessed creatively and usually do well in the arts and performing so it’s not a far out possibility. I definitely agree with your assessment and it doesn’t make me love the man any less. I just wish he could have dealt with his lack of self-esteem in a less destructive way.

      Bottom line show business is no place for children especially when the parents don’t parent properly and they’re in it for the money.

      • I agree Mani. I see it and have seen that many times. There are so many issues between the Black community and its gay members. There is a lot of work to be done in terms of eradicating homophobia. Myself, I sort of just live in my own little world and float right on through….I can definitely imagine the difficulty of growing up Black and gay in a very religious, Jehovah’s witness environment.

  36. My own personal take on M.J.–My sister used to scare the bejesus out of me with Thriller when I was little–i never paid much attention to Michael Jackson after that!

  37. I AM from Brasil
    Tk U Jane ,U kown what Midia makes With artists..I think that all the truth will come every time along the years ….O DOnt matter is he is Black or White .Sunshine is inside Michael SOul 4ver…because he had the God gift to use this total energy..I sensitively dreamed with him and he sad to me…’just remember the time’.SO ,the mission is ‘game over’ and he is in another dimension…

  38. I liked your thoughts about Michael and commenting on your time with him. I think Michael was very insecure. He might have gravitated to people…older and younger… who he felt comfortable with and who could give him advice and insight to show business and life in general. Yes, I think he probably had a difficult time getting older. It’s sad he couldn’t stay grounded by just writing music and performing. I know he loved his children. He got off track somehow which is not unusual for some people who reach the “super star” status! Yes, it’s good that he went quickly. It’s nice to think of him at peace now! He left some wonderful music which will be with us forever! It’s a sad thing to see people who can’t accept getting older…. those having constant plastic surgery or dressing like they are still 25 when they are 55! It seems that by accepting it makes it not so scary or horrible. There’s so much to love and learn about life that the category of growing older seems so small in comparison.

  39. That was a nice post and how wonderful that you got to know Michael. I sure will him and his music. Happy Fourth of July. Take care.

  40. So far not believe what happened to Michael. He was happy with the tour, and I happy for him.
    But this is the law of life .. death! Unfortunately.

    But imagine him living forever. Through everything, suffering, would not hold to.
    The world cries, I cry.
    But surely it is better, is where is.

    Will continue to succeed. Ever!

  41. Please sign here for Michael Jackson:
    http://www.blussa.com/sign-petition.htm?petitionId=62
    its is very important. Michael Jackson should not die 🙁

    please send this letter to your friends. Michael deserves that.

  42. Interesting and different post on MJ. Yes, I can see how he would resist getting older and eventually dying. It’s too bad that he wasn’t able to work on this fear before dying so young.

  43. I am a Chinese fan, like his friend with the Michael Jackson, M.J heard the news, very sad, I hope that you have to turn grief into strength, M.J will always live in my heart…

    (My poor English proficiency, please understand my thoughts, Michael Jackson 22 years ago have been to my hometown, Guangdong Province, China)

    我非常喜欢 Michael Jackson! LOVE YOU~ Forever…

    • michael jackson, idol of my heart. worship you for many years. earlier know that you will hold a concert in London, the mood is very exciting. Although i see you do not reach the scene of the show, but through the television network can be seen. It is a pity recently passed away that i feel very sad sad.
      You are still the idol of my heart. You dance infected me. Let me fall in love with dance. See you dancing from an early age, that “space walk” is a dance I most admire.
      I’m from Shunde Guangdong China.Remember that:”you are my hero forever.”
      by:Qla

  44. Thank you Ms Fonda for these peaceful and calming words … I am one of these many many people around the world who are deeply touched and sad inside their hearts … Your post is like a a quiet place in the midst of chaos you can find in internet, TV or other media. They do not talk about death and mystery, of passing away but about his plastic surgery and eccentrity. It is sad and disgusting. Here in Poland like in others places in the world people miss Michael. His death or rather reaction of the people to it demonstrated how much people loved Michael despite all this battue in mass media. I loved Michael art but to be frankly earlier I was not very interested in their life lnow when I have read their interviews, all transcripts of talks show he was a guest I have known him more. He repeated very often that people should be kind and respect others. He was amazing person tactfull, delicate and so much gifted and talented. Sure he was very complex personality with his secrets. It is sad that there are so many people, not only Michael, so alone being at the same time among and with others. Ms Fonda you are amazing person, I have been truly admiring you for many many years. I love your book. You are very tactful, discreet and full of class stylish lady. All these qualities are so rare nowdays. Specialy in show business where everything is for sale. My respect Ms Fonda. Regards, Katarzyna

  45. What an interesting and positive outlook. My Mother’s Mother-in-Law passed two or three years ago and during a phone discussion during that time, my Mother mentioned fixing a covered dish to take for the celebration. That opened the door to a very different avenue of thought regarding death and dying for me. I too discuss death and dying openly, and being able to do that with a positive attitude allow me to live better.
    Great post.

  46. Michael Jackson.we love you.you are the king of the pop never die” by:Qla Huang

  47. From Singapore.

    I grew up knowing Michael Jackson’s music and art. I knew about his charity works. I knew about the accusations.

    BUT…I have always believed that he is and was a good man. A man with a good soul. Someone who has helped thousands of children and people. I will not say helping others and being eccentric is ‘having demons”. But instead, with all his kindness, generosity and extraordinary artistic talent, I will call it “ultimate greatness”. Nothing can be compared to that.

  48. HI Jane,
    Love your comments RE: MJ & the ranch; but I disagree with your thoughts that MJ would not age gracefully and perhaps he would be afraid of ageing. I believe that he was a searcher of experiences and would seek out the views of spiritual living souls as he aged. He probably would have set up many more foundations to help the disadvantaged.

    P.S. I was given a private meeting with your father: a gracious and very funny man. He asked me a question that referred to you. I rarely watch a movie more than once unless it’s from the 20’s to the 50’s; but Monster gives me such pleasure.
    all the best!

  49. I grew up in a dynamic similar to Michael’s as far as the drama and abuse and growing up to soon. I have always “liked” old people, even as a kid. Think instead of beard lol… less threatening, caring, wisdom, understanding, listening. Considering his past and young at heart nature, I totally related with his fondness to older people. I too have an issue with dying lol. I can’t explain it, I just fear it. Like, I want to finish what I started here. As a kid, you didn’t even dream of dying. You were invincible, wanted to explore and live. As I learn more about him and banter this in my mind, I’m beginning to understand that fear, in that I feel like I was an adult well before I was 18.

    I about fell out of my chair when they said he was 50. I’m thinking “50???!!!” He was and is ageless, totally timeless. As I thought more about it, I can’t picture a 90 year old Michael Jackson.

    I’m going to miss him. I felt like the air was sucked out of the room when I learned he died, and I have mourned, at times feeling guilt because I haven’t even mourned this much over some of my loved ones passing. It’s odd, just so surreal. His music was the soundtrack to my youth. But what stands out more was that he was truly a gifted and loving man. He gave his heart out, both in music and in humanitarian issues. Eccentricities tend to be the curse of society, yet celebrated across the ages. Michael will live forever.

  50. That was a lovely blog about MJ. His death brought out feelings I didn’t expect – joy that he gave me with is music – sadness of his pain. Reflecting on what people would say about me in my passing. Could I be kinder, work a little harder and try to be a better person. Thanks for sharing. Rest in peace MJ. I hope they go with your wishes in your will.

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