I watched the Michael Jackson memorial today with a very heavy heart. Not because I am such a big fan of his music. Or because it felt like such a tragedy to lose a great artist at a relatively young age of 50.
Rather, it was most sad for me because we lost a man who spent nearly his entire life talking about, but more importantly, practicing, the art of unconditional love.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the tortured life of Michael Jackson was constantly overshadowed by tabloid headlines that seemed to nearly engulf him at the later stages of his life. And unquestionably, Michael brought some of it upon himself.
However, for the record, I have to admit, I don't believe Michael Jackson was ever a pedophile. I don't believe he ever sexually molested a child in his entire life. I don't believe he ever even considered doing anything harmful to one single child he ever came in contact with.
Which is not to suggest that Michael didn't make some mistakes. He made plenty. He was certainly guilty of making some poor judgments regarding his public relationships with children.
He was perhaps naive, gullible and vain. But the bottom line is, and I am certain of this beyond a shadow of a doubt, he simply was incapable of the kind of sexual misconduct he was accused of doing to children.
But that is not what is important to dwell on at this time.
Rather, I want to focus on Michael Joseph Jackson the man. The person. The human being.
All in all, this was a man/child with an enormous heart and an enormous gift for love.
His memorial, broadcast all over the world on Tuesday, July 7th to an estimated billion people world-wide, was touching, moving and heartfelt. It was sweet, it was loving and it was classy.
And thanks to an expected surprise, it was very, very poignant, due to one special little person.
Essentially, despite all of the superstar talent such as Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Usher, John Mayer and others, who were brought in to perform to honor Michael Jackson's life, the show was stolen by one very precious little girl – Paris Katherine "Princess" Jackson, Michael's 11-year daughter.
Within the manner of a mere fifteen seconds, this sweet little girl was able to put a real human perspective on the often crazy and outrageous life of her father, Michael Jackson. And she was able this because spoke words that came straight from her heart, with the unconditional love that only a child can display for a lost parent.
After her uncles. Marlon and Jermaine. had eulogized Michael so very eloquently, Paris (pictured left) bravely took the microphone and suddenly there was this sense that things might become awkward.
Paris Katherine Jackson, 11, said goodbye to her father at the close of the memorial service.
But instead, she spoke with such tender emotions as she said, "ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine," as members of the Jackson family closed ranks around her to give her strength to carry on.
"And I just want to say that I love him so much," she managed to finish, just before bursting into tears and falling into the arms of her aunt, Janet Jackson (pictured above right).
Good God, it was heart wrenching.
But with those few beautiful words, Paris did more for Michael Jackson than a whole team of publicists or image makers, or even Michael himself, could ever have done to turn around the often negative portrayal of him in the media, and sometimes in the public's perception.
It cannot be underestimated how monumental these actions of Paris were for her Father on this day. She clearly showed the world that Michael Jackson was not so much the King of Pop, or "the greatest entertainer who ever lived," or a freak, or a child molester.
But rather, that he was simply a man and a loving, caring Father. Three times over.
It was readily apparent for all to see that Michael Jackson had done an admirable job in raising his three children: Michael Prince, Paris and Prince Michael (aka "Blanket"). They all appeared to be poised, polite and mature. And normal. Which, of course, only further tugged at the heart strings.
But how ironic is it that a child, Michael's child, an 11-year old little girl, would be able come to his rescue and resurrect the tarnished image of the King of Pop in the eyes of the public. Forever. Quite a feat for one special little girl.
Don't think for a second that Paris Jackson's words will not stay permanently etched in the memories of those who were in attendance at the Staples Center arena in Los Angeles, or who heard them over their television screens.
More than anyone else that could on this day, she single handedly managed to humanize Michael Jackson in a truly remarkable way for all of eternity. How ironic it had to occur upon his death. Yet what an incredible gift she has given to her Father!
And I would have to add, the entire Jackson family was almost as impressive on this day. Marlon, Jermaine, Janet, LaToya, Rebbie, Tito, Jackie, and Randy, all held themselves with honor, dignity and decorum.
Despite all their successes, all their talents, all their music and all their controversies, what was on stage to see was a family united in an enormous bond of love. You could just feel it pouring out of the TV and hitting you right smack in the face. Or perhaps in the heart.
It was quite something to behold. You can feel it even as you look at the photo above of the family huddled around each other.
No matter what you think about the Jacksons, this is one, very special family. This is a family that knows what love is. And, obviously, so did Michael.
I am not here to defend the Jackson family against the slings and arrows of the press, but merely to point out how rich this family is in love. We should all be so blessed. And, if I had to guess, I would have to say the source and the strength of that love is their mother, Katherine Jackson.
I just have this feeling, this sense, that this is a woman who possesses a heart as big as the world, and she has passed it on to all of her children. Each and every one of them.
Hopefully, she will have the opportunity to pass it on to Michael's children, too. But, as Paris Jackson proved today, Michael has already seen to that.
God bless you, Michael Jackson, for that alone.
Eventually, Michael will be remembered for the unconditional love he brought to the world. And we have his Mother and now his daughter, the two Katherines, to thank for that.