Inner Michael » Finding Nemo, Neverland and Me by KB

Finding Nemo, Neverland and Me
by KB

The two-year anniversary of Michael’s passing was approaching very quickly.  My sister and I were planning on meeting up with our friends from all over the world.  I had been communicating with them for almost 2 years so it was a wonderful feeling to be finally meeting with them in person.  A lot of things were happening right before the trip, so I was not able to really concentrate on preparing as I normally would when going away.  This trip would bring on many emotions– excitement about finally meeting everyone, but sadness because it was now 2 years since Michael left this world.

Last year I traveled to NYC in June and in August, to Gary, IN.  While both trips were wonderful and memorable, I knew that this year and this  trip to LA would be different. We stayed with friends in Ventura County for a few days and then headed for LA.

We needed to find our condo but decided on the way to stop at Forest Lawn and spend some quiet time at the place where Michael was laid to rest before the crowds came. We stopped at the florist shop and got flowers and a butterfly to place inside Holly Terrace.

When we arrived at the entrance of Michael’s Mauseleum, we noticed other people’s flowers, cards, stuffed animals, posters, and all the other things that expressed how much Michael was loved and appreciated.  There were a few people who were talking, so it was a bit frustrating as I wanted to just sit and be still.  I wanted to see if I felt anything.  I felt a level of sadness, maybe peace, but I didn’t feel Michael.  More fans showed up and it became a bit busier.  We spoke with Forest Lawn security who advised us that if we asked the florist, they would bring the flowers that we purchased at the shop to be placed next to Michael.  For the last several months, I felt that Michael’s spirit was around everywhere; it was hard to imagine him in his resting place.  We were able to have our flowers brought inside of Holly Terrace, which I thought was very nice. Then it was time to go.

We arrived at the rented condo late afternoon on Monday not knowing what we would find. Greeted by our dear friend, we found everything set up for us. It was great to finally meet her. A true fan, she had decorated with all things Michael and his music blared from the DVD player. It just felt like Michael was there with us. It felt good to be there and I knew at that moment it was going to be a trip that would hold many memories.

For the few days, we waited until the rest of the group arrived.  On Wednesday after everyone arrived, we were now ready to start our journey.  We went back to Forest Lawn, walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visited the Hard Rock Café, stood in the foyer of Pantages Theater, visited Madame Tussaud’s museum, went to Disneyland, and visited the Grammy Museum.

There was a lot going on, including a birthday celebration that week, and I’m not sure if I was able to really absorb what was happening.  I wanted to just be, but at the same time it was very exciting with so much to do. When I was able to, I would find a few quiet moments where I could think about and absorb the journey.

Michael’s music was a constant companion either on CD or DVDs and it became a comfort although lingering in the back of our minds was the date June 25 two years before, and what that meant. Every place and every activity reminded me of Michael, but there were a couple of places that really resonated; in those places, I felt forever changed.

On Thursday, we arrived at Disneyland later than intended because we made a detour to Forest Lawn to drop off our memorial poster board created by the group with a message for Michael that represented what the group wanted to say from all of us—those in LA and those back home.

The only thing that brought relief from the deep sadness was the next stop at Disneyland to see Captain EO.  While we’ve all seen it many times on DVD, most of us had never seen it in 3-D and at Disney.  The group went through multiple times to absorb the experience. To see Michael  so close and feel the magic was something so amazing that it defies words. The ride had been updated to include movement and sound.  It was a wonderful tribute to Michael.

On Friday we headed to Neverland. Some drove separately because they planned helicopter rides over the ranch. The drive on the 101 and Pacific Coast Highway to Neverland was absolutely stunning. The water, the mountains, the mountain passes and ranges took the breath, especially the San Marcos Pass past Santa Barbara. The beauty was overwhelming—the mountains so green, the sky so blue and winding road carving its way through “God’s Country”.  I was like another world.  When we arrived on the other side of the pass, we drove into the valley, where we saw mountain ranges, ranches and animals. The peaceful and beautiful valley led to Los Olivos, which was a small little town south of Figueroa Mountain Road.

We left Los Olivos and headed toward Neverland Ranch. We remembered this was the same road that Michael traveled many times. We imagined him riding in the back of his car, just watching the beauty as they traveled along the road or perhaps being inspired and creating. How many trips on this road have resulted in one of his wonderful songs? Only Michael knows.

There were lots of people at Neverland making it impossible to just be able to sit and be still. There was Michael’s music and people dancing. Since they all loved and missed Michael too, there was no complaining. I ventured near the gates but couldn’t bring myself to look too long. I felt as if I was invading Michael’s privacy in some way. At the same time, I knew that Michael would understand.  I sat down and just watched everyone doing their thing. I felt a sense of loneliness. It was clear that Michael was gone and the sadness settled in. Michael had not lived at Neverland near the end of his life. His presence was gone and I too felt the sense of loss as we drove away. I didn’t want to leave Neverland. It now had a different feel for me. I know the layout and it is more real for me. It was too hard to stay and too sad to leave.

Neverland is nestled in the middle of wine country and since I love wine, I will be back I’m sure. On the way back, I mused what Neverland would be like restored the way Michael envisioned it. Who would do that and how? The drive back seemed shorter than the way in. We were scheduled to go to a party but it was not what we had imagined and we only stayed an hour. We regretted later not making other plans.

On June 25, we visited Forest Lawn to pay respects on the day of Michael’s passing. We walked down to Holly Terrace and the place was flooded with flowers, cards, items, posters, etc, so many more than the previous days. And we were allowed to get fairly close to Holly Terrace unlike the previous year. People had arrived from all over the world including some impersonators who looked a lot like Michael. Some folks formed a circle to sing “Heal the World.” I stood back and watched thinking that this gathering represented the very thing that Michael would have liked to see when he was alive.

Gardner School was next on our agenda and we found seats and settled in for an event in the only real public school that Michael attended. Soon Tom Mesereau arrived and spoke eloquently about Michael and his relationship with him. Impersonators played Michael’s music and danced. Gardner School is important because at one time Michael’s name was covered at the school and never uncovered even though he was exonerated, until some fans spoke to the board and when they learned the truth, the boards were taken down. His name now gleams from the building.

We made a stop at Michael’s first house in California at Encino. We walked down to Gelson’s Market at Havenhurst and Ventura, the quaint little market where Michael bagged groceries when he lived down the street. We left Encino to return to the condo and watched Michael’s  DVD’s and talked. It was hard to realize that people would begin departing the next day.

I feel something in me has changed. I saw so many of the places that Michael went or were reminders of him.  I felt closer to him and because we were with other admirers and were surrounded pictures, his music and voice, but there was something more. Something felt changed.

Some of the group left on Sunday and the rest of us decided to go back to Forest Lawn and to visit Carolwood, where Michael died. At Forest Lawn, we walked around the corner to the back side of Michael’s burial place. We sat across the road in silence and just watched.  It was nice to not be able to be silent and hear nothing but the birds, the wind, and nature.  After sitting there awhile, I happened to look up again and saw something right around Michael’s crypt. I wasn’t sure at first, so I got up and walked across the road. I looked up and couldn’t believe my eyes—there was the shape of an angel. I called others over and they couldn’t believe it either. But there were the wings and the entire body of an angel.

I took a few pictures as did the rest of the group. We took it as a sign that the angels were with Michael and with us. We said our final goodbyes and walked around to the front of Holly Terrace.  Something about seeing that sign just makes it all so final.

We arrived at the Carolwood where we relived the gate scene when the paramedics were trying to back out to get Michael to the hospital. The drive is not wide nor is the street. I can certainly see how the ambulance was having trouble. We saw the room with the balcony and tried to sit quietly but the tour busses interrupted our silence. It sickened me to know that people actually come to gawk at where Michael Jackson died instead of where he lived– that Michael’s final home is on a cheap Hollywood tour. It seems a morbid invasion of privacy.

Was I too,  invading his privacy?  I looked up at his balcony and tried to replay the surreal events of June 25. I couldn’t stay focused on that so instead I imagined Michael walking around the house with the children into the back yard. As I walked along the building, I heard that one of the girls found a feather. I found one too and I take that as a spiritual sign.  The sense of that overwhelming emptiness followed us as we were leaving.

Arriving home brought up many emotions including a deep sadness because I missed the women and our time together. We are all spiritual seekers and we bonded and grew spiritually. I miss Neverland. Michael is not at Forest Lawn—just his shell resides there. I miss the human being that was Michael deeply.  I began to know him a little better and understand the man and his spirit.  Michael was a human being and he was flawed just like every other human being yet he endured so much pain during his lifetime. He was strong and courageous and my heart truly hurts for him.

I know what people did to him and I have a very hard time holding back the anger. I have a sense that I need to do something that will truly make a difference and help the greater good in the world– something tangible. I feel a little detached and not grounded. Is it because I have some understanding of the spiritual world as well as the earthly world?  As I walk my spiritual path, I have some sense of what inspired Michael.  I see it in his book “Dancing the Dream”, his lyrics and poems. That brings me deep pain and sorrow. The tears still come at times yet now it is different.

I am getting beyond the grieving stage and now feel I am working alongside Michael to help heal the world as he asked us to. The trip to LA and Neverland has made his passing much more personal. The places where he lived and made music are real now and that led me to take a vow to carry forward his messages of love, peace, healing and hope and to work with people who improve the human condition. Some things no longer interest me; I want to live my passion; Michael continues to inspire me and I have “made that change.”


  1. Heidi said . . .

    Imagine if you were a great being of light who volunteered to come to this world to teach and heal and try to uplevel it’s stagnant species. Imagine trying to navigate your way through the darkness and shadow that is this world. Imagine pouring your heart into trying to change what has little to no interest in changing. Michael Jackson wasn’t “flawed”, this world is what is flawed.

    Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Not all is darkness and shadow. We are here. ~Rev B

    Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:01 am | Permalink
  3. gertrude said . . .

    Sometimes I wonder if it is about changing this world, or if it is more about stepping into another one by changing one’s own inner world as the Man in the Mirror has repeatedly urged us to do. I don’t know why I feel there are 2 worlds, but since Michael has led me along this path I feel their separation more keenly by the minute. The cruel world seems like a lie we are being told, a mirage, and Michael’s world, the one the dark seekers insist exists only in our crazed-fan heads, is the real one. It seems Michael’s world restores, and the commonly accepted “real” world is a lethal vampire threatening to vanish us. I don’t want to allow that world to delude me into believing it exists. I seem to be turning my back on it without conciously realizing it. This world likes to think it killed Michael, but maybe all it did was accidentally help him step fully into the real one, into the light from which he came. When the light shines the darkness doesn’t exist. Does this mean there is no such thing as darkness, only abscence of light? My brain hurts, but my heart wants me to keep examining the topic. And of course, our hearts are really where Michael is living, aren’t they?

    Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:46 am | Permalink
  4. Robbie M said . . .

    All is balance. It is only by acknowledging our dark side that we can make the choice to move into the light and let its’ power guide us. Yes, many things that used to seem important no longer appeal. We know something that many people who are bound to the material world do not, the beauty of the Spirit and the truth it reveals to us if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. However I cannot turn my back on those too blind to see. It is our duty to let our light shine in this world, in the hope that we may persuade more to explore their own potential for spiritual growth. Michael loved humanity even when it turned against him. We are his legacy, and if we wish to follow his example then love must be our driving force to help others to look in their mirror and make that change. Walk softly through the world, but with your inner strength sustaining you. Love and blessings from Scotland.

    Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  5. Lynaire Williams said . . .

    Thank you KB for your enlightened post. I have always wondered how it would feel to me if I were close to where Michael is or had been and you have given me the answer. One of my life’s biggest disappointments was going to my Mum’s grave for a “chat” and realising she wasn’t there. Of course neither should we want them to be. They are off reclaiming themselves. Full of peace, full of glory. Though to be in the company of so many like-minded souls on the ground would have been wonderful experience. None of us need ever fear that we will stop “feeling Michael.” We have all been graced with our own small part of his soul. We have followed him before; now we are doing it again.

    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink
  6. Door said . . .

    Barbara, your story have touched me deeply. Even from the other side of the ocean I can feel Michaels (and all of your) presence and spirite. How must it feel to be on the places Michael visited, as you described?! Every time I drive along the Arena-Stadium in Amsterdam where Michael performed in 1997 it is different before June 2009: it feels like an emptiness, a great loss. How can that be? I am glad for (all of) you that you had the opportunity to make that journey! Thanks for sharing it with me/us. It’s all about L-O-V-E, Door

    Posted August 28, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

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