On Tuesday, July 7, 2009, the funeral of Michael Jackson, dubbed
the "king of pop", took place in Los Angeles, CA at Staples center. It is the
place where the singer had been rehearsing rigorously in preparation for a
series of concerts in London in which he was scheduled to perform as part of
what was to be an unprecedented revival and promotion of his popularity.
Jackson's intimate friends and family members gathered to bid
him farewell in a private ceremony that took place earlier in Forest Lawn
cemetery of Hollywood Hills. Unfortunately, the request for privacy on behalf of
the family by Jermain Jackson was not respected. The paparazzi
made their un-welcomed presence known as did various television stations when
their helicopters appeared in flight overhead.
Nevertheless, Michael Jackson's funeral contained elements that others may want
to take as an example in planning memorial services for themselves or loved
ones. What are some of these elements? First, one fan of the pop music star
commented on how powerfully Jackson's 11 year
old daughter, Paris, affected the ceremony in her eulogy. Seldom do adults
encourage the deliverance of eulogies by children, especially if they are having
a difficult time with the loss of a loved one. However, if the child is old
enough to understand what death is, they should not
automatically be denied the opportunity to say goodbye to their deceased
relative or friend in their own special way. Paris' words revealed what no one
else could say for her--that she considered Michael Jackson to be the best
father anyone could imagine.
Although many have found it incredible to believe that the singer's three
children are his biological offspring, they said it simply didn't matter after
hearing Paris' eulogy.
Another unique feature of Michael Jackson's funeral is that it actually took
place twice-- a "private" memorial service for close family and friends, and
another for the adoring public. Again, this is something that can be implemented
in funerals for non-celebrities, allowing the family and chosen friends a final
time to be together before their loved one's burial and the final goodbye.
Stevie Wonder, expressed the wishes of so many when he said, "This is a moment I
wish I'd never lived to see." He gave tribute to Michael Jackson in his singing
of the theme song, "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer."
Jackson's fans, whether they could attend his funeral or not, were not left out
when it came to giving tribute to the star. The web site, MichaelJackson.com,
gave his followers the opportunity to give their eulogies in cyber space. The
element that made this type of homage unique is that some fans addressed Jackson
personally in statements such as, "I will always love you Michael. Your music
will live forever." It was impossible to allow every fan, friend, and family
member the opportunity to eulogize Jackson at his funeral. However, the Internet
has made it possible for every admirer of his to not only offer their tribute,
but also to have it heard and read by others who identify with their words.