Although I am the same age as Michael, I did not follow him or his music. I knew about him, of course, from the news media, but I did not pay much attention to news or music or celebrities so my knowledge of him was very limited. My opinion about him was based on the thought that anyone who could write a song like Heal the World, had to be a good person, so I did not believe the negative stories I heard. That was about the extent of my knowledge of Michael, until June 25, 2009. Of course, I was shocked and sad, like the rest of the world, that he was gone. If someone my age could die, so could I.
On July 7, the day of the Memorial Service, I had not even remembered it was on. I happened to see a review of the service on Larry King Live, and my heart opened. I was "struck". I started crying then, to the surprise of my mother who I was visiting, and didn't stop for months. I felt as though I had lost my best friend. I had no idea what was happening to me, but I knew for sure it came from Michael. I was overwhelmed with love for the world, all people, animals, nature. I saw how much he was loved, and how much he loved the world. I read every book about him, watched every video, interview, and listened to and loved all his music. This went on for months and the feelings did not fade, they grew, as did my love and admiration for Michael. He had done so much with his life, and nothing stopped him from accomplishing what he knew he was here to do. I was compelled follow Michael's example, and ALWAYS say yes to my heart, and not hold back on my dreams as I had done for most of my life. For many months I did not know that there were other people that had been struck by Michael’s love like I had. I was amazed and relieved to discover Facebook, and find out there were other people with similar stories. For the first time, I had friends who understood how I felt. It was, and still is, so wonderful to have a family of Michael followers to share with.
I wanted to be a writer, but had never actually written much of anything. Michael inspired me. Since then I have published a picture book, telling the story of Michael's life, written like a fairy tale. This little book has helped me to connect with Michael lovers all over the world. I have the opportunity to share his message with them and future generations and also donate to charity in Michael's name. It is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. There are so many things I have done that I would never have seen myself doing before Michael came into my life. I really believe we can change the world, and I know Michael believes it. That's why he is here with all of us, encouraging us to be the best we can be. I have become a different person, and I am no longer worried about dying without having done what I am here to do.