MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Dad’s living with the angels’

by

Goodbye, Michael
‘Dad’s living with the angels’
Friends of pop star say Jackson’s daughter, Paris, 11, is coping with father’s death
SHE’S only 11, but she shouldered much responsibility and displayed admirable strength as she comforted some of her father’s closest friends.
09 July 2009

SHE’S only 11, but she shouldered much responsibility and displayed admirable strength as she comforted some of her father’s closest friends.

Her words of comfort?

‘Don’t worry, daddy has gone to live with the angels.’

That was what Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris told family friend and former child star Mark Lester, reported Hello magazine.

Mark, 50, said the little girl offered him these consoling words when he spoke to her.

The former child star is godfather to the singer’s children, Paris, Prince Michael, 12, and Blanket, 7.

He said he was stunned by Paris’ amazingly mature reaction, reported the Mirror.

Said Mark: ‘Paris told me, ‘Mark, don’t worry. Daddy has gone to live with the angels now. Can we still come and stay with you?’

‘Paris was incredibly strong and consoling and she’s pleased to know that all of them are welcome to stay with us at any time.’

The children will need all their fortitude and they have asked for permission to attend his memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles today.

A memento from each of Michael’s children along with letters and photographs will be placed in his coffin.

Paris was reportedly seen wiping tears off her cheeks after a family service for the pop icon yesterday.

The Jackson family has done its best to protect them from the often conflicting stories about their father and drugs, anorexia, debts, as well as the various theories on what caused his death. But it has been impossible to shield them completely.

A source close to the Jacksons said: ‘How can you? There is TV, radio, the Internet – all of it covering their daddy’s death in detail. Those kids are so lost and confused at the moment. And now they have to cope with a public funeral.’

Prince 1 thought dad was joking

Jackson’s former manager Dr Tohme Tohme added: ‘The children are the saddest part of this whole tragedy.

‘They were with him all of their lives and now he’s gone. He was their dad, their mum, their everything. They don’t understand why he has been taken from them.’

The three children were in their father’s Hollywood home when he collapsed and died. Prince 1 was in the living room and and first thought his dad was pulling one of his infamous practical jokes.

But as the desperate efforts to revive Jackson began it suddenly became clear this was no game.

Later, a close associate who took the responsibility of telling the children their dad was dead, broke the news in a hospital side room.

After a moment of silence, it was Paris who reacted first. She screamed: ‘No, no, Daddy. No, no!’

Hours later, on the advice of bereavement experts, the sobbing children were taken by a therapist to see their dad’s body.

Jackson’s brother, Jermaine, said: ‘At first, I was against it. But what do you say if you don’t show them? I know it’s tough but I think it was the best thing to do.’

Close to father

Several people told AP that the children were well brought up and very close to Jackson.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach described to AP what it was like for the children at Neverland Ranch when he took his children to play with them eight years ago.

The rabbi’s children naturally made a beeline for the fabulous rides – the Ferris wheel, the roller coaster, the bumper cars.

But when Jackson’s own kids asked to go on the rides, the singer gently reminded them of the family rules, according to Mr Boteach, that ‘the rides were only for birthdays or special occasions’.

‘He was concerned that the kids grow up with the right values,’ said Mr Boteach, Jackson’s former friend and spiritual adviser.

Home-schooled and often isolated in mansions or hotels, the children have appeared only in rare paparazzi shots, their faces usually covered by scarves or brightly coloured masks.

‘To the extent that Michael Jackson’s kids could have a normal life, he wanted them to have it,’ said Mr Boteach, who eventually fell out with Jackson.

‘Listen, I’m not here to whitewash the sins of Michael Jackson – he was accused of some abominable things,’ said the rabbi, referring to the pop star’s trial and acquittal on molestation charges.

‘But when it came to being a father, there was much to admire.’

No better father

Dr Tohme said he had ‘never seen a better father’.

‘He was the father and the mother,’ Dr Tohme said. ‘He washed them and dressed them. I’m a father but I’m not sure I could do what he was doing with his children. They loved him so much.’

But even Jackson’s closest friends are at a loss to explain what for many is the single most memorable image of Jackson as a father: the shocking moment when he dangled Blanket, then an infant, over a hotel balcony in Berlin, showing the baby off to fans with a delighted grin.

‘What made that incident so inexplicable was that he was an over-protective father,’ Mr Boteach said.

Photographer Ian Barkley, who spent several years working for Jackson, said the pop star made sure they kept up with their studies.

‘Once I heard him ask the nanny if the kids had done their homework that day, and they hadn’t yet and he was really not happy.’

Whatever happens, Mr Boteach said it was Jackson’s greatest wish that his children know how much he loved them.

‘Michael often said he knew that when the kids grew up, they’d be asked by biographers what kind of father he was,’ Mr Boteach said.

‘He wanted the kids to know that he always put them first.’

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