Michael Jackson is synonomous with eighties pop, red leather jackets, moonwalks, jerry curls, and my mother. She loved the way he moved his feet, flicked his hair, rotated his pelvis (sounds more naughty than it is) and the howl that he makes when he struts his stuff.
His death saddens the world as everyone gasps at the way his life abruptly came to a halt. I can't help but think of his family, especially his four children, during this time. As in the case of Natasha Richardson, the shocking nature of his death is too reminiscent of the way my mother died.
It's especially difficult when I remember how much my mother loved MJ. She imitated him poorly, but had crazy dance moves all the same. When I think of my mother, I think of certain images, icons, memories than transcend the present. MJ's death is another reminder that the remnants of my childhood with my mother is coming to a close.
I remember one particular winter day near Christmas when I was a young child. It was one of my earliest memories. We were spending the night at my cousin Danny's house in San Francisco. We watched the Charlie Brown special and then the music video, Thriller, premiered on television. I couldn't sleep that night from the images of monsters, crazy dancing, and the transformation MJ made from a shy teenage boy to a dancing maniac. I slept without realizing how much of an impact he would make on the world. The cute kid from Jackson 5 was all grown up and about to transform the entertainment industry. I woke up to a world where MJ was at his finest.
In recent years, he has been the butt of many jokes. His lightening skin tones, narrowing nose, and bizarre parenting choices have provided a different form of entertainment for the world. Everyone has seemed to forget his idiosyncrasies in order to remember what is really important about his life; his contributions to the music and dance worlds.