Dr. Nona Owens - Psychologist
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Celebrity Lifestyle vs. The Common Man

              vs. THE COMMON MAN
         The Day Michael Jackson Died
Human nature has us interested in the way celebrities live their life.  The first pictures of a new baby born to a popular singer or movie star can bring millions when sold to People magazine. Weddings and scandals do too.  Do you ever wonder what their day to day life is like, and how it differs from yours?  Recently, I looked at this in regard to my own upbringing.  I wrote my thoughts on Father's Day as a tribute to my father.

Over the next few days the news will be filled with reminders that it is the fifth anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson. This is one day that will always be prominent in my mind because Michael and my father died within the same hour. 

Faced with dealing with my own grief on Father's Day on the second anniversary I did what I often do when things are churning around in my head: I wrote. I did a tribute to my father through making a comparison of two great men, my father and Michael. This post was submitted to Yahoo and remains there in my library. The following is a copy of that article:

Michael Jackson died June 25, 2009, shortly after noon Pacific Time. Cause of death has been ruled accidental overdose due to his physician administering large amounts of a controlled substance to him. His death was a tragedy, and a loss that has been mourned by millions.

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news of Michael's death? Do you recall what emotions you had following the announcement? Many were in disbelief. Most were shocked and saddened by this senseless loss of a talented entertainer, parent, son, and humanitarian.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news of Michael's death. I thought the friend who told me was joking. I had been away from the news for the afternoon, and didn't hear until about six hours after his death. 
While I was shocked and saddened by this loss, I was also preoccupied with my own loss.

My father, a wonderful man, of almost 90 years lost his battle with cancer at about the same time of day that Michael died. My afternoon had been taken up with my family and preparation for the funeral. I was on my way to my sister's at the time I got the news. I'm not sure that there was even any talk of Michael that night. We were making our own funeral arrangements.

In the past few weeks, and especially today--Father's Day, I have been thinking how these two men were so different, yet so alike.

Both Michael and my father were parents who loved their children unconditionally. Both made their children the center of their being. Sacrifices were made so that the welfare of the children would be paramount. The news media shared stories of how Michael hid his children from the public. My sister and I were not hidden, but my father had the same concern to protect us from the dangers of the world.

Michael is known and remembered as a singer. His recordings are available for us to enjoy as we choose. My father, who wasn't known for carrying a tune, was also a singer. I can still hear his voice, as he sang to me when I was little. He sang about "Daddy's gone a huntin, gonna get a rabbit skin to wrap his baby buntin in". I am not forunate enough to have a recording, but I can still hear him, and sense the love he was sharing with me as he sang.

The humanitarian work Michael Jackson did makes me have great respect for him. Many didn't know that he reached out to others as he did. To me, this is the heart of Michael that has the most meaning to me. While not wealthy like Michael, my father was also a humanitarian. I can recall, even as a child, his going to a home to rescue a woman who was being abused by her husband. He took her to safety. He gave of his time to others. Even when he was retired and far past the age when many were just enjoying their free time, he and my mother would "help the old folks". If someone had a leaking sink, or needed a ride to the doctor, they were there for them. He grew a big garden, and took delight in sharing the peas, beans, tomatoes, and melons with others. His blueberry bushes and peach trees are still bearing fruits for others to enjoy.

Michael had millions. He lived in mansions and traveled the world. He had many houses where he made a home for his children. My father built most of the house we lived in. He painted, did electrical, plumbing and roofing when needed to keep things nice for us. Our house was truly a home.

Flashy dress and a style we all know to be Michel's will live with us forever. My father dressed simply. Though he had a healthy amount of money in the bank where he could buy the finest suits and drive nice cars, he chose to dress simply and to continue to drive his ten year old truck. Things were not important to who he was. He was just a simple man who enjoyed sitting in his swing or spending time with family. His eyes would light up when he saw us walk into the house.

According to statistics, on an average day in the United States, 6800 people die. I'm sure that each is missed by those who loved them, just as Michael's and my father's friends and family do. Regardless of how famous or infamous a person is, there are people who loved them. Their death is a loss that is grieved in much the same way.

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