Kell and Susie Hutchence, Erana Clark and Dennis Ian Patterson on board the “Ambience”, 22.1.1998
Ten years ago today we were preparing a special birthday gathering for Michael. Emotions were very raw as reality was still sinking in that Michael was not going to be there. Kell had arranged for us to meet at his and Susie’s apartment for a drink and snack before moving down to Double Bay where we would board a yacht and sail around Sydney Harbour. Many of Michael’s family, band mates and closest friends were invited. The details of this can be read in the “Ashes Ceremony” on this site.
What isn’t well known is that Kelland had expressed a concern to me about the windy conditions and so I had contacted a friend who was President of a large Christian University in Cedarville, Ohio. I made a request that at their Wednesday night chapel hour, they pray for something very special that was taking place in Australia at that hour. Around 2,500 students sealed that pray that day, not fully knowing the actual circumstances. If you have seen the acclaimed documentary, “The Loved One”, you will hear some of those on the yacht give an account of how the moment we came up on deck to scatter Michael’s ashes, the wind mysteriously dropped and the sea became calm. The sun also splintered through the clouds behind the Harbour Bridge creating a serene backdrop for a solemn ceremony that became the moment of precious goodbyes.
Even the arrival back that day from New Zealand of Erana Clark, a vocalist I had felt so strongly about singing Amazing Grace that I had to convince Kell to agree, was a miraculous addition to the afternoon. With limited places on the yacht, Kell initially felt that someone who actually knew Michael would be on board and could surely sing. But I felt Erana was the one to do this. When Kell finally agreed, neither of us had known that Erana had toured with the band as a backing singer. Some things are beyond explanation. Erana’s song and her comfort to the others on board was, to quote Michael’s “Possibilities”…”meant to be.”
What I, and I am sure many others, will not forget about that evening was how despair and hopelessness seem to be comforted with peace and thankfulness for a very special life. It was Michael’s birthday and by the end of the evening a more festive celebration washed over us like a soothing balm. It was probably brought about by many things, a resolution of trusting and committing Michael’s spirit to eternal rest, a jovial story of his prankish ways, fond memories of how he was a bright light to so many, a reminder of his international standing in the music world and the joy that he had brought to millions though his creative performances.
Michael Kelland Hutchence was born on Friday, 22nd January, 1960 in the middle of an Australian heat wave of record proportions. The radio waves were also hot with Aussie rocker pioneer, Johnny O’Keefe singing, “She’s My Baby”, and throughout the Commonwealth it marked the 59th anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria. People were lining up to see the new FB Holden car and Doris Day was still a box office superstar. The Australian coastal population where flocking to the golden beaches in the middle of the traditional summer holidays. There was nothing remarkable about Michael’s entrance into the world that day, but what is certain, when his ashes floated down onto the waters of Sydney Harbour, 38 years later to the day, Michael in his short life had made a massive impact on pop culture throughout the world.
The old children’s nursery rhyme stated that “Friday’s child is loving and kind” and that is the testimony of thousands who had the privilege of meeting and knowing Michael. The world has been a more inspiring place because of Michael Kelland Hutchence. He is a legend and legends have the nature of enduring far beyond the natural life span of any man. Today join with us and celebrate the birth of that precious child who became the legend.
Happy birthday dear Michael!
For the team at Michael’s Official Memorial Site.
” I’m so alive
If you told me
Hearts are broken
I could show you
Why it’s worth it
That’s the way that it’s meant to be”
Michael Hutchence, “Possibilities”.