The truth is I wasn’t going to blog on the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s 62nd birthday this year. Not only have we been in a heat wave in Los Angeles but I have been trying to manage with my mother locked down in a nursing facility, left brain damaged from her second husband’s abuse. For the past six months, she has not been allowed visitors but I have been given permission to see her from a gate for 25 minutes, in the sun, with traffic whizzing by, two times a week. The isolation is getting to her as she does not understand why she has no visitors coming inside even though I have tried to explain the situation to her. She asks me to “come inside”, “let’s go” “vamanos” and “open the gate.” Finding a perfectly ripe avocado made me happy, because it’s the only food they allow me to bring her.
The medical director of the facility told me “We need your voice, don’t back down” so I haven’t but it’s exhausting. Then, to make matters worse, I was told that the facility working with the Dept. of Health would open up a safe, social distanced arrangement where family can visit without endangering the residents, staff or visitors at the end of August. There were 5 new cases in a building in the same campus two weeks ago, so the residents have been locked down once again.
In place of boredom, I offer my mother spontaneity. In place of loneliness, I offer companionship. Instead of feeling helpless, being able to visit with my mother gave me the opportunity to take care of another human being. I look forward to the day that will we set them free from this tyranny.
As I pulled into Forest Lawn Glendale, I was wondering if Michael would be remembered this year as more people tend to visit on the anniversary of his death, rather than his birthday. As I saw the intricate, creative cards and the stunning arrangement of flowers, I knew I had to share these photographs with his fans so here I am again.
Helena Ong – Malaysia
My heart is filled with sorrow because of my mother’s isolation and if I can bring a smile to someone in the world, sharing the love I am witness to at Forest Lawn, then I have accomplished something meaningful today. No one understood this better than Michael Jackson, whose genuine love and caring for humanity was part of why he touched so many hearts around the globe. Michael Jackson was the embodiment of love, kindness, caring and the most creative soul to ever walk this planet.
Finally, last but not least, the love between Gloria and her fiancé, is so heart affirming.