I didn't watch any of the coverage of the memorial service today, but I've read bits and pieces of comments from those who were there, and it looks like they did a decent job with the service/event/whatever.
I'm still not sure how I feel about everything. It's hard to overlook the allegations, even though nothing was actually proven. It's hard to ignore the multitude of odd behaviours. But there's also no denying the immense talent that he was, the impact that his music had on so many people, the influence he had over younger talent.
He had everything in this world - fame, fortune and adoration. He had the life that people dreamed of having. And yet, it was that very same life that turned into a nightmare no one could ever have imagined.
But what I'm feeling sadness for is him. I don't know what his demons were or what gave birth to them and made them grow. I don't think anyone is ever going to know that. I'm sad that the little boy who sang songs beyond his years like "I'll Be There" and "Ben" grew up into something different. I try not to read foreshadowing and irony into the fact that he sang "Ben" so wonderfully, especially at that age, when the song was about a pet rat that turned killer because the boy couldn't relate to others and couldn't control the rat.
I saw the genius that created "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" and "We Are The World". And I saw the adult that did questionable things, the incredible talent that turned into the subject of snide jokes.
I heard of the people who went to sing his praises. And I wonder, somewhat bitterly, where they all were when he needed help, why they didn't step up then to intervene, to say something, to do something, to stop him, to save him. Maybe he was already too far gone, incapable of listening to anyone. Maybe my expectations at what people should have done is unreasonable.
I just know that such promise, such talent, such a gift, should have not turned out this way, should not have ended this way.
I hope that his family's pain at losing him will decrease over time. I hope that his children will be able to have as normal a life as possible, that they will be able to overcome the legacy that is impossible not to pass along to him.
And, most of all, I hope that he is finally at peace.