Human Flower Project

Spotlit Sympathy for Michael

Is there is “sixth stage” of grief, called self-promotion?


A plea for tributes brought quick response—2000 sunflowers at Michael Jackson’s grave in Glendale, CA

Photo: Richard Beetham, for Splash News

Floral customs may be rooted in the past (sometimes so far there’s no accounting for origins), but the enduring ones can’t help but bloom in the present.

How’s this for an “extreme make-over” of sympathy flowers? 

It’s coming up on a year since performer Michael Jackson died. Lisa Marie Presley, who was married to Jackson 1994-96, tried to fire up his fans with a request May 12 on MySpace.

Presley wrote that she had recently visited Jackson’s crypt at Holly Terrace, Glendale, California, and was dismayed at the puny number of floral tributes. “I thought you might like to know,” LMP informed the public, “that he would want and deserves more than what is there…. I know how much he loved and appreciated being showered with Gifts and flowers by his fans.” She explained that “happy” sunflowers were MJ’s favorite and asked everyone to “SURROUND HIM” with blooms.


Fans outside Michael Jackson’s crypt photograph the “shower” of sunflowers at Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Photo: Reed Saxon, for AP

In the 1950s-’70, there was devoted Joe DiMaggio quietly sending fresh roses each week to Marilyn Monroe’s grave (some sources claim it was three times a week for 20 years). But today we have the celebrity-ex dunning fans for tributes (what LMP calls “love”) via the Internet. Hereby Lisa Marie both saves herself the trouble and expense of buying sympathy flowers and draws attention to herself as Love-Leader and Prima Memorializer. (Reminds us of the current trend in charitable fundraising: Don’t give your own money to the cause, but instead announce you’re cycling across Vermont and ask friends and associates to join your “team” with their own donations).

The rest of the story: Within 24 hours, there were 2000 sunflowers at Michael Jackson’s graveside, but they weren’t donated by 2000 or 1000 or even 100 fans. They were all delivered by Sunflower Guy, a Carlsbad, California florist.

Self-promotion is the sincerest form of sympathy.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/18 at 03:08 PM


You’re certainly entitled to your opinion.  I like to believe LMP was inviting fans to share with her in memorializing Michael.  The florist who donated the flowers did an amazing job.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/19 at 07:25 PM

Thanks for stopping by, Plumeria.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/20 at 03:44 PM

i am only a michael jackson fan.but i like what lmp did for her x husband she still cares for michael.i would like to know if michaels fans could send flowers to him.i would like to next month.on june 25 the frist year since dear michael been gone all of us.

Posted by andrea on 05/21 at 12:06 AM
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