Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Living a Legacy

the month of june was full of death. it probably was no more than any other month, but when one loses her own father and the king of pop within a matter of weeks, loss seems magnified. and there were, of course, the deaths of farrah fawcett, ed mcmahon, and billy mays as well. i'm almost afraid to turn on the morning news at this point...

for a number of reasons, mj's death affected me tremendously. initially, i was shocked. soon after, i realized i was so physically, mentally, and emotionally drained from the death of my father that i didn't even have space to mourn michael as i might have otherwise. it's a bizarre feeling to not really know where i fall on the spectrum of fans reacting to his death.

i realized something else while indulging in the persistant michael mania (music and videos, not the media melee that immediately ensued). it was as if everything i had been feeling over the previous 3 weeks was now being shared by people all over the world. the sadness, confusion, loss, and celebration and appreciation of life were almost universal. and then a deep sadness came over me as it occured to me, i felt such an overwhelming sense of loss when my father died, and i'm an adult. what must mj's children feel like right now? and i realize young children lose parents all the time, but unfortunately, these children are also targets for the same kinds of people that sought to take advantage of their father. but i digress.

at some point between mourning and celebration of both of these men, i began to think about legacy. hearing my father's family and childhood friends recount stories of him helping them in some way introduced me to a side of him that i certainly recognized but couldn't have appreciated in that way; i knew him as my father, not much as a man independent of that role. i began to think of how people will remember me when i'm gone...what character traits will stand out the most to them? and examining the impact mj had on the world in his 50 years of life begged the same questions, but regarding my contributions to art and humanity on a larger scale.

i haven't come up with any answers, but i'm determined to do just that in the way that i live.


Tina said...

Powerful piece! Only in death sometimes do we really get to know our loved ones and the impact they have on people. Like yourself, it was wonderful to hear all the positive things that friends and family said about Big Frank and the contributions he made in the community and to his family. He will live in forever in everyone's hearts.

Max Reddick said...

I agree with Tina. Powerful piece. I, too, experienced a death not too long ago. It absolutely devastated me. But once I got over the initial grief, I became frightened. I began to realize what a giant the person was, and additionally, I realized it was my time to step up and become that same giant in the life of someone else. It was my turn to touch someone's life in the same way that person touched my life. So, I bite my lip, said my prayers, and began working toward becoming the person, the man, the father and husband, that I know I could and should be. That is the greatest tribute to the life of that person that I could offer.


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