by Karen Lobb
Nearly 12 months have passed and still, I can’t help but feel it’s all been some horrible mistake. Surely they got it wrong? Can’t be you, not you.. I don’t think it was meant to be that way, and I don’t think you did either – not in a rational moment, never in your wildest dreams. A crazy set of disjointed, seemingly minor circumstances that collided together when there was no one to help you see a way out. It seems impossible to let go of the “whys” and “what ifs”.
In my worse moments, I feel you must be crying a bucket of tears a day to see what’s going on down here.. Your family in disarray, Paula crazy with grief, losing “all your beautiful girls”, getting caught up with some loser in an effort to drive away the numbness she must feel, and Tiger, growing away from the last day she ever saw you, every day.. Isn’t it obvious that they’re all trying to deal with the unimaginable? A task too great for most of us? And the ever ready microphones and cameras, waiting to catch the odd tactless word or gesture, and send it like an arrow in tomorrow’s headlines right into the hearts of your other loved ones, dividing them when really all that will get them (and us) through is to hold on together.
My littlest boy was born on your birthday. He’s just six months younger than Tiger, and so often I look at him and think, how could you bear to miss out on this, you’ll never know that about Tiger, how much they change from week to week. And the weeks keep adding up, all that time without your voice, your hug, your kiss. I guess in a too-short 16 months you did an awful lot of loving, maybe enough to last her a lifetime. She’s only got to look at those photos of the two of you together, when you were laughing just like any love-struck-silly dad, to know how much you cared about her. I hope you can see Tiger, watch over her. She’s just a little kid now, but I hope she finds the answers easy when she’s old enough to start wondering.
I guess it’s up to your family, and friends, and maybe even us in a small way. We’ve GOT to get over what’s happened, and start celebrating what you’ve left to us. Your music. Wow, what a legacy. Your image. Sexy, soulful, intelligent. Not my type at all if you look at my real-life choices, but I could never resist my guilty obsession! And your friends, family, the ones you’ve touched, they’re the lucky ones, even though their pain must be unbearable. They’ll spend their lives remembering moments with you, that probably seemed so inconsequential at the time, now cause for a smile or tear or tingle.
It’s no doubt all sentimental mush – but it IS time to dust off those records I’ve been too heartsore to play. I want to see your name again in bookstores and music shops when the news is good. I don’t want everything you’ve achieved, felt important, expressed so well, to be buried too. I’m just a fan, but you spent a lot of your adult life proving we meant something to you. We will always, always miss you, but if we hold you close in our hearts and minds, and learn to laugh and sing as well as cry over you, then you won’t ever truly leave us.
As they say, Michael, love and peace.
Karen Lobb, Australia, November 1998