Yesterday was the memorial service and burial of Michael Jackson.
He had many faces - literally and figuratively.
The little boy with the big voice, fronting his brothers' band The Jackson 5. His sad, sincere singing would make us fall in love with a rat named Ben.
The teenager with the mile-high afro and dance moves in sync with Diana Ross and Cher.
The young man who began to look just a tiny bit effeminate: the first nose job, the smooth, short curled hair. And the lighter skin.
And then there was Thriller! And Michael Jackson became the King of Pop. He introduced a dance style and a backwards "moon" walk to screaming, crying fans who would eagerly practice not only his clothing styles (including the iconic white sequined glove) but his famous moves.
His life became a circus as rumors of skin lightening swirled, and it seemed as though he had truly lost his way when his face began to take on strange and hideous changes. The results of his many plastic surgeries left him with a tiny, toy nose; a cleft chin; womanly eyebrows. Combined with red lipstick, Kohl-rimmed eyes and penciled eyebrows, the face became truly clownish. Michael, and Michael's life became a joke - tabloid fodder.
He was acquitted of molestation charges, but the little-boy Michael who opened his home, Neverland, and shared his bed with children because it was nurturing and loving was now a monster.
But a week ago, all was forgotten and forgiven as Michael Jackson left this world. Suddenly he was remembered for his music, love of life, and kindness. And people were singing, crying, and copying their idol's famous moves as they listened to his music piped across the loud speakers of the world.
And we realized we were too late with our love and respect.