michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 99)


in the midst of all these people who say they love you, i feel like an outsider.  just so we are once again clear; i’m not willing to fight over the semantics of the names bestowed on you by media; i’m not prepared to say that everyone in the world hates you except those who deem you immune from imperfection; i’m not going to cease my critique of your actions when i feel they warrant critique.  i’m not going to quote you without careful examination of the quote.  i’m not going to assume everything you say is truth.  i am not going to assume i ‘know’ you simply by how you publicly present yourself.  and i am certainly not going to treat you as an icon.

to be a student is mutually exclusive from hero worship.  despite my views and experiences, in no way do i think, or AM i better than anyone else walking around on this earth.  what i AM saying is that it’s been a frustrating road to explain what being a student of yours represents for me.  how do you navigate it without sounding arrogant or alienating?

i ask myself this question all the time, and don’t know if i’ll ever find the answer to it.


i say all this to continue what i said to you yesterday…  i know i’ve been told that grief is something that unexpectedly returns for an indefinite amount of time; but of course, being told something is quite different from actually experiencing it.  again, the reason i chose not to follow this conrad murray trial is because i knew it would bring up a lot of issues, regarding you, and regarding myself.

i also didn’t want to follow the trial and encounter mass waves of infighting, theories (conspiracy or otherwise) and blame games.  i wanted to be able to see things laid out as they were, via transcript.  i wanted to be able to make my own decisions based on testimony, without influence from journalists, commentators, or the fan base.

in my search for other news events, it’s inevitable your name would come up in the mix.  i actually did a pretty good job of avoiding most reportage on it in the past month and a half; somehow, after work yesterday, something compelled me to read up on the events.  i became livid after again reviewing the details of the AEG contract; however, what i read after work presented a range of experiences i don’t think i was ready for.

in the course of reading it i felt water well up in my eyes- but the tears did not fall.  it wasn’t until i spoke with a friend of mine some minutes later that i began crying in front of him.  as i was speaking about what i read it hit me again that you were gone.  all i could think was ‘THEY KILLED MY TEACHER.’

they KILLED you, michael.  i don’t know why, but reading this synopsis of the trial, it hit me more than it’s ever hit me, aside from the day of your transcendence.  i literally felt a blow to my insides.  i just kept thinking of how much you were literally dying.  how you left this earth, alone.  i can’t even imagine how horrifying those final minutes were.




he asked me what i thought the outcome was going to be.  i told him i didn’t think it was going to be good, and at the most, murray would get two years.  he opined he didn’t think he would be convicted at all.  my subconscious says he WON’T be convicted; and the logical side of me says that the evidence presented should convict him with at least negligence.

my feelings about all of this go way beyond whether or not i think he will be convicted though.  the closing testimonies are being presented as i am writing all of this to you, and the jury will then deliberate.


frankly, i’m not nervous about it at all.  i’m not even concerned about whether or not he gets convicted.  for me, the justice is not in whether or not murray is convicted, because the situation is bigger than him.  his being convicted is not going to bring you back.  the only way i see justice being served is if THE WHOLE MEDICAL INDUSTRY AS WE KNOW IT TODAY IS DISMANTLED; that there lay a more wholistic approach to health care.  as we can see with you and so many others, this industry does not value life.

in reading what i read, in essentially reliving whatever pain you were experiencing, truly hurt my spirit. to read testimonies from people on both the prosecution and defense’s side, one thing was very clear- you needed help.  i cannot see how anyone could be in denial about that.  i am trying to wrap my head around people who blame only conrad murray for what happened to you.  granted, i put an even larger blame on the industry which values money above life…  still, as an individual you have, over the years, acknowledged a dependency on certain drugs.  as we can see with many of these commercial pharmaceuticals, they cause damaging side effects, at times prompting a person to take other pharmaceuticals to counter the damages from the other drug.

this is what appears to have happened with you.

This won’t hurt you
Before I put it in
Close your eyes and count to ten
Don’t cry
I won’t convert you
There’s no need to dismay
Close your eyes and drift away

dependency v. addiction:  this is a debate i’ve struggled with in my brain for many years.  this debate stems from one thing though- childhood trauma.



in thinking about dependence i thought of my own:  because i never received as much love as i craved as a child, i intended to seek it out wherever i could find it.  i became dependent on others to meet my needs for love and affection, eventually becoming oblivious to crossing boundaries- that is, until a friend pretty much yelled at me.

this may not physically compare to, say, a dependency on benzodiazepines; at the same time, it’s not all that far off.  relationships with people, like life, are impermanent, as should be the use of benzos.  in many cases we use both because we want to never see the pain.  our bodies and spirits withdraw if indeed we’ve had them in our lives for so long, since they present an artificial resistance to whatever pain we’ve been experiencing.

frankly, you were on so many benzos, i’m not sure how you even made it as long as you did.  your body seemed so dependent on substances that really weren’t set up to give you the rest you really wanted, that more and more were added, causing even more resistance.  and of course, no one appeared to be working with you pro-actively to find solutions.  and because there really weren’t any on hand, more benzos, more propofol got added.

many people will continue to say you were addicted- even people who share dependencies on drugs- but reading the transcript synopsis, i sensed more of a dependency than anything.  i saw an anxious man just trying to get some rest, and not trying to get high.  how you WENT about getting that rest eventually gave you the eternal rest you most likely saw coming before any of us did.

i keep thinking of how lisa marie stated you told her you were going to leave this earth at a fairly young age…  i return to your embarrassment when struggling to put on your glasses in public for one of the first times.  i return to your desiring eternal childhood in trade for not being able to live it at the age you were supposed to….  and you left this earth, rife with symbols of mortality and age.

the comparisons to gustav von aschenbach’s transcendence in luchino visconti’s ‘death in venice’ should never be surprising. as von aschenbach also left this earth essentially alone, in the process of attaining his perception of youth as beauty.  in working to attain this youth, he was entrapped by it.  as he reaches out to grab his ideal in the sunlight (before both ideal and sunlight descend); he tragically collapses from cholera, heavy makeup and hair dye streaming down his face.


there is something very humbling and poetic about your transcendence, really…  how alone you really were, despite being one of the most admired (and polarizing) figures in the world….  how much, in the end, the removal of any facades of ‘youth and beauty’ made you MORE beautiful.

that no matter how ‘carefree’ you appeared to the public, all you really wanted was to be settled, raising your children.

to see how your life has been playing out in media has also been incredibly poetic; despite protests from fans for, in their view, callously displaying your ailments and picking you apart; as a person reared in the age where celebrities maintained some sort of private life separate from ‘the rest of us’, your life ended full circle in a society in which people demand to know every single facet of life of celebrities.  the reportage of all the so-called ‘ugly details’ of your physical self- your enlarged prostate, arthritis, skin problems, graying hair, identifying marks and blemishes- has been so unsympathetic that it ultimately does represent the teaching of interconnectedness- that no matter how much you lived in a world seemingly separate from ‘normalcy’, you share the same ailments as so many of us who have less access to health care.


it’s interesting, because i am told by many that my face looks young.  in fact, earlier at work someone assumed i was either 21 or 22.  there are also many assumptions (when i do radio or am walking around) that i am just starting or are in the process of college.  being that i haven’t seen 21 in a whole lot of years, i feel those years accumulating in my body.  all the aches and pains i feel in my joints; the slowing down of my metabolism, and the way i have to make plans to keep the energy up definitely contrast with my youthful face.

i thought about the pains i feel and how i choose to treat them, and all the pains YOU’VE felt over the years, heightened by your profession, and possibly not feeling there was much you could do about it.

this may embarrass you a bit, but because i read it in my reviewing of this conrad murray case, i’m going to say it.  having read the autopsy report i remember a bunch of what they mentioned, but not every detail.  one prominent detail in review of the case was that you had an enlarged prostate (as well as bad vision)…  as an enlarged prostate is not the worst thing in the world that could happen to a man, it does affect the amount of urination which happens.  (and i’ll equally ’embarrass’ myself here- if i eat a high-gluten diet i also end up having frequent urination.  not the same as the prostate thing, but still)…

i mention the prostate because medically it’s impossible to have an enlarged prostate if one is castrated.  the rumors of you being castrated at a young age in order to maintain a high voice should CEASE, if those who make those claims were to read the autopsy report, as well as review the testimony in the murray case.  if people were to actually do a serious study of both the case and the autopsy, there’d ideally be less perceptions about who you were- when really, no one knows but you.

it was also sad to again read about an enlarged prostate, because i could only imagine the sadness you faced with the inevitability of aging.  i mean, i remember how apologetic you were having to pull out your glasses at the bambi awards in 2002.

i enjoy how much more distinguished you look with glasses.  i appreciate them as a sign of maturity and aging for you.  but yes, i definitely recognize your perspective, given your profession.


even WITH any pain i’ve gained with age, i welcome aging.  for me, every day above ground is a good day.  every time i see a new gray hair, i smile.  i know it was not like that for you.  your profession depended on you maintaining youth of some sort.  so again, hearing that audio of you all drugged up just sealed a terrible reality of your fear of growing older.

“don’t have enough hope.  no more hope.  that’s the next generation…”

i think calling you a ‘drug addict’ or even ‘drug dependent’ is too simplistic.  it’s not even because those are necessarily mean things to say.  to me, there are larger issues at stake- the desire to no longer be in pain, to be able to REST WELL for once in your life…  the desire to be at your best in order to make others happy.

was the drive to rest stemmed from the drive to make others happy, or was it stemmed from just the need to REST?

cherilyn lee testified, just as she had mentioned in interviews, that the vitamin cocktails she gave you were not working for you (at the same time consuming heavily caffeinated drinks- WHICH MAY HAVE ALSO WORSENED THE CONDITION OF YOUR ENLARGED PROSTATE), so you urged her to find a doctor who would give you some propofol.  when she refused, you essentially let her go.


okay.  okay.  THIS is one of the many times where i feel like an outcast amongst your supporters, because i refuse to not hold you accountable for your actions.  a huge factor in not pro-actively dealing with childhood trauma is pushing people away who actually are looking out for your best interests.  because you grew up with someone abusing you- mentally and physically- everyone who does not cater to your needs in the way you want it is seemingly viewed as having that ‘parental’ role.

is it the case that anyone who didn’t want to get you pills or mentioned to you that certain people in your life were no good for you, were seen as adversarial?

it is possible i am casting aspersions due to my own experiences…  i see a pattern though, in people speaking of their experiences with you.  there were people who have had genuine concern for you get rejected because they did not cater to your every need.  this is destructive.  and it led to you getting involved with people like thome, people who ended up stealing your money and having you sign contracts you could not even negotiate.

that you had to use PROPOFOL in order to get some decent rest is interesting, since it’s already been established TIME AND TIME AGAIN that it is an anesthetic.  looking at the ingredients of the stuff, i’m not sure why ANYBODY would want that in their body:

“Propofol is slightly soluble in water and, thus, is formulated in a white, oil-in-water emulsion. The pKa is 11. The octanol/water partition coefficient for propofol is 6761:1 at a pH of 6-8.5. In addition to the active component, propofol, the formulation also contains soybean oil (100 mg/mL), glycerol (22.5 mg/mL), egg lecithin (12 mg/mL); and disodium edetate (0.005%); with sodium hydroxide to adjust pH. The DIPRIVAN (propofol) Injectable Emulsion is isotonic and has a pH of 7-8.5.”


getting back to the dependency v. addiction issue, i found a pretty simple explanation as to why i don’t think you were an addict:

The pain patient who is effectively treated with opioids finds life restored-even if he is dependent on them. With the pain muted by stable and steady controlled use of long-acting opioids, a patient can reclaim his life, go back to work, return to family life, and pursue favorite pastimes. Dependence is a physical state that occurs when the lack of a drug causes the body to have a reaction. Physical dependence is solely a physical state indicating that the body has grown so adapted to having the drug present that sudden removal of it will lead to negative consequences such as a withdrawal reaction. This can occur with almost any kind of drug…  The difference between a patient with opioid addiction and a patient who is dependent on opioids for chronic pain is simple. The opioid-dependent patient with chronic pain has improved function with his use of the drugs and the patient with opioid addiction does not.


from reading transcripts, autopsy reports, etc.  this is what i sense coming from you.


and BECAUSE you’ve used so many of these pharmaceuticals to try to get some decent rest, it would make sense that something as simple as, say, MELATONIN would not work as quickly as you would want it to work.

the lives we all lead in the ‘modern world’ do not help either.  we no longer follow the natural patterns of the sun, and we use a lot of nutrient-depleting technology.  looking into the reports again, with the life you led, it was as if you tried everything, and continued to go down a road which seemed easier, but it was harder to navigate out of.


i get it.  i’m not mad at you.  still, i have no qualms in saying you had to take some of the responsibility for, not your transcendence, but the people you allowed in your life.  had you had people in your life who were not as accommodating and showed more love, you may still be here today.  clearly, those who were more accommodating were more sinister, either due to their attraction to money, and/or your status.

those eyes though…  they just break my heart.  looking at them, i just see there was so much missing in your life…  love.  and you gave so much attention to everything else in the world, but i can’t help but think that you LIKED yourself, but didn’t LOVE yourself.  if that is not the case i apologize in advance.  it’s just not what i see in your eyes.

your sensitive/vulnerable nature, in combination with (what i see as) your not dealing with your trauma, did not enable you to make a distinction between those who wanted to take advantage of you, and those who genuinely were concerned about you.  it was as if you did figure out who was taking advantage of you towards the end of your life; but your trust in people was so minimal that no one may ever know if you tried to heed their advice or warnings.

reading the synopsis of the testimonies was quite humbling.  it gave me flashbacks to my own life.  it was yet another lesson for me to work at healing myself and to work towards healing with others….  to stop and say, ‘is this person sincere, or trying to harm me?’

“I really feel that nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the planet.”


even if i did not see ‘this is it’ i am aware of some of the lessons you gave in the film.  that was one of them.  i am here asking you, as a student; in my belief that we are all a part of nature, with all of the use of pharmaceuticals and artificial foods and other substances we put in our bodies…  was a cardiac arrest for you, nature’s way of letting you know there was only so much to take?  were you working yourself so hard, trying to work ‘for the people’- for children- that you never took the time to check yourself out?

If you call out loud
Will it get inside?
Through the heart of your surrender
To your alibis

And you can
Say the words
Like you understand
But the power’s in believing
So give yourself a chance

And when you think of trust
Does it lead you home?
To a place that you only dream of
When you’re all alone

Better stand up and act like you wanna do it right
Don’t play the fool for the rest of your life
Work on it brother and you’ll make it someday
Go for what you want and don’t forget the faith

Look at yourself and what your doin right now
Stand back a minute just to check yourself out
Straighten up your life and how your livin each day
Get yourself together cuz you gotta keep the faith

what do we see when we see ourselves?  is it a reflection of someone else, or have we looked within ourselves enough to see our own abilities?  do we remain focused on trying to maintain justice for ONE person, or are we working towards actually CHANGING the system which treated not just that one person, but ALL of us unjustly?

our focus needs to change, and interestingly yet unsurprisingly, how your transcendence is being covered in media is a huge lesson in perspective and self-reflection.

thank you again, for bringing the lessons to us, even in spirit.

love, jamilah


About jamilah

i think about a lot of things, and sometimes i write about them.
This entry was posted in childhood, children, economy, freedom, life, michael jackson, parenting, politics, transcendence, trauma. Bookmark the permalink.

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