2008 was the happiest year of my life because it was the happiest I’d ever seen Michael. He was still living a quiet life, being a daddy to his children. They would go out together three or four times a week, often to see a show on the Strip, to the movie theater at The Palms or to have dinner at Planet Hollywood. He was working non-stop and seemed more excited than ever about releasing new music and reconnecting with his fans.
Two things I should mention, though they’re pretty obvious to most fans. One… There was NOTHING more important to Michael than being a father and there is NOBODY on the planet that he loves more than his three children. They were his world and he was theirs. When he talked about future plans, like where he might like to travel or live in the future, he always used the pronoun “we,” never “I.” They were one unit, bonded together by love.
Two… Michael NEVER stopped creating. Ever. Creating to him is like breathing. Artistic expression flowed out of him all the time, no matter where he was or what was happening in his life. He must have written hundreds, or even thousands, of songs a year but released only the very best of what he created. He is a genius and a perfectionist, through and through.
Michael’s home in 2008 was on a quiet residential street called Palomino Lane in Las Vegas. Whenever he came or left, he would stop and I would chat with him and his children, sometimes alone, sometimes with others – either pupils from nearby schools, local fans from Vegas and/or follower fans visiting from Europe. He would talk to us for 20 to 30 minutes at times, often asking us what our favorite songs were, which videos we liked best and what we would most like to see him perform.
It was a dream year, surpassing all others, because not only did I get to spend more time than ever with Michael but I also got to know his three beautiful children, with whom I had long conversations, exchanged gifts and letters, went to a private movie screening (with their dad) at the Palms, and swapped stories about our pets, our favorite books and movies, and our everyday lives.
Michael and his children left their home in Las Vegas on 20 October. I was at the house at the time with a good friend who was visiting from England and a girl who went to a nearby school. We had a fun and lighthearted conversation and he told us that he was going to Los Angeles for a few days but would come back soon.
Sadly, his plans soon changed and he never returned.