July 7th, 2009
05:36 PM ET
Even though Michael Jackson's golden casket stood, spotlighted with flowers resting atop, it was still difficult for many at his memorial to grasp the reality.
The King of Pop is gone.
Inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the respectful quiet was often broken by shouts of support.
Fans yelled things like "You're leading the choir in heaven now, Michael" and "Thank you, Michael" to express their overwhelming love for the man who gave the majority of his life to thrill and entertain them.
But now he would do so no more. There was a palpable feeling of sadness.
While I expected sorrow, and even a few laughs at the memorial, I didn't expect the overwhelming intimacy I felt inside the venue as fans bid farewell to one of the most famous people in the world.
People consoled one another, and there was a sense of respecting the fact that they were being allowed to say a final goodbye. The Jackson family, which had shared their son, brother, father, and uncle with the world, was now inviting that world in to glimpse their mourning and share in just a small portion of their pain.
It was an honor to be there, and it was obvious that many who were there understood and cherished that.
–Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer
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