Yesterday, I led a memorial service commemorating the life of a good friend. I worked with two of her very closest friends in the lead-up to the service, and, as is common, we gathered photos together for a slideshow to commemorate the occasion. As we compiled the show, a question arose about what kind of music we should set it to.
One of our friend’s musical favorites was Michael Jackson. We sat with that information for a couple of weeks, but the night before the service arrived and we had still not suggested any actual song titles. For my part, I had been stymied by only being able to think of peppy songs that didn’t seem totally appropriate for a memorial service.
As I sat on the couch after returning from dinner on Friday night, Michael Jackson’s song You Are Not Alone popped into my head. I really don’t know why; neither that song nor Jackson’s music in general have been particularly significant to me. Regardless, I knew right away that it was the perfect choice. I texted my friend and co-organizer of the service, and she agreed.
Our friend died at about the same age Jackson was when he died – too young, in other words. As was evidenced by the attendance at the memorial service, she was deeply loved. And so was Jackson. But it seems like in the case of both, something about them prevented them from letting others get too close too often. Each wrestled with demons that they seemed destined to fight alone. Maybe that’s one reason his music resonated so strongly with her.
Those of us left behind can only hold their memories close. We might wonder if something we could have said might have made a difference, but in the end, I think it’s true that all of us have some roads that we must walk alone.
Commemorating my friend’s life yesterday was, happily, not one of them.
Thanks for reading,