Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Michael Tour - Holly Terrace

"... Too pure for this earth, too beautiful to stay; and so God's holy angels bore our darling one away." ~ epitaph in Lullaby Land

One flower for Michael... or that is how it began. As in all things for Michael I become involved with they usually turn out to be so much more. This day was no exception. In fulfilling a promise to my dear friend, Bonnie, I made a visit for her to Michael at Holly Terrace. First stopping to purchase one flower as was her wish but then it was more cost efficient to buy more than one. So with a small bouquet of bright faced flowers and thinking of the kind gentleman from Forest Lawn asking that we always share flowers with the babies as it was the Forest Lawn tradition, I felt a need to also follow suite.

So after leaving a single heartfelt flower from her for Michael at Holly Terrace I took the remaining flowers to the babies at Lullaby Land just as we had done for One Rose for Michael J. Jackson. I was recently saddened to read some comments posted and had not been able to shake them from my mind. People stating they're upset that Michael is placed at Holly Terrace, Glendale as it seemed to be such a very sad, awful place. So in my journey today... I just wanted to share for any of you that feel this way how very 'Michael' Holly Terrace, Forest Lawn, Glendale really is.

Well that is how it started out.

Like with all things in my daily life since Michael died I still see and feel Michael everywhere. Today was no different. The sights and feelings of Michael were simply everywhere. Michael taught the world about beauty and art as he lived beauty and art when he walked this earth, surrounding himself everywhere possible with treasures from the masters. At Forest Lawn too everywhere is beauty and art. Looking at all this beauty today at every turn I thought of Michael... everywhere Michael!

Beauty, children, art and Michael intertwined For All Time.... eternity.

"Did He need one more blossom of your size and hue - and
was that the reason the Master chose you?"

I recently wrote of the roses for the babies from One Rose for Michael J. Jackson. What an incredible journey that was and here I was today able to take my time in the sweetness at Lullaby Land once more. The focus today no longer on the roses allowed the scent of pine and lavender to drift up and fill my senses. Placing the sunflowers in the hands of the babies I spent more time reading and studying the tribute. Taking a closer look at the carved poem, castle and surrounding area. Here I saw for the first time lavender and baby violets much like what I have growing at home filling the smaller heart area in front of the castle tribute wall. The roses were gone now so the sunflowers brought a new sense of cheer. My heart broke as I wondered about families who placed their departed babies in this large heart cemetery. Taking the time to read some of the head stones I realized they were from very long ago, yet the epitaphs were so current and fitting for our sweet Michael... now... today.

Again I glanced up the hill toward Holly Terrace which over looks Lullaby Land and sighed a heavy sigh thinking about the innocence of Michael in comparison to the innocent little babies here. He so loved babies and the world never understood the pure, innocent heart that filled him up with overflowing love and kindness for so many suffering children. I thought about how he never lost that innocence no matter how much ugliness was thrown at him. He always held on to what mattered to him the most... love for the children... helping and loving the children.

I began my leave and as I rounded a bend just behind the main mausoleum I caught sight of a large monument of a mother and baby which literally stopped me in my tracks. I had to stop the car and get out. It was here that God and Michael grabbed my hand and heart and took me on a journey... a tour of sorts... a tour of all things 'Michael' within view of Holly Terrace... essentially 'Michael's View'.

This is the first time I’d ever seen Forest Lawn Glendale from this perspective. Lifted up and moving now with the flow I just let God and Michael take me for a Michael sight seeing journey. Thinking of those sad posts I’d read I felt they were showing me I needed to share with MJ fans that Michael is indeed truly surrounded on ALL sides by beauty, children and art.

Here as I stood outside my car, just at the bottom of the back slope where MJ lays at rest behind his Ascension windows, sits a beautiful white marble statue of a mother with a baby in her lap. The love in the kiss and the playfulness of the child reminds me so much of Michael’s sweet gentleness and warm hugs with his own children.

Then as I turned to drive away my heart jumped when on the left right before me was a statue of an angel stooping to pick up one lone rose. Tears filled my eyes as I thought of Michael and One Rose for Michael J. Jackson. A vision of Michael in the ‘You Are Not Alone’ video sprang to mind. Here it seemed this statue dedicated to someone’s dearly departed also fit Michael so well... was meant also for this space in time.
Bottom back of the main mausoleum and back side of Holly Terrace.
MJ's Ascension windows in the distance next to the tree (sadly this tree has now been removed).
Michael simply loved beautiful white marble carved statues. He filled Neverland with many so when I turned the car and saw three more large carved Biblical marble statues just at the back, base of the main mausoleum within view of Michael’s windows the perfection and appropriateness of this resting place was once again affirmed.

Baby Land

I thought I was ready to leave when something inside said, “But you didn’t visit Baby Land.” So I turned back, traveling around the bend and up the hill to visit the babies. There I was very pleased to see indeed just as they had told me many of the flowers which are still nice are given to the babies before they are tossed out for good. Always assuring that the babies are thought of. It was wonderful to see this gesture, thinking how it would have also pleased Michael. I turned to look toward Holly Terrace and from this vantage point I couldn’t believe my eyes. There at the bottom of the slope along a road is a very familiar large old Oak... with all that I had just seen I immediately thought no doubt relative to the Giving Tree. Why not? Although it lay in direct view from Holly Terrace I’d never noticed it before. However, today on this tour things were coming to me from a different perspective.

I took my time and walked for sometime around the base of this very old rambling oak looking way up into the branches thinking of Michael climbing so briskly up the trunk of the Giving Tree... wishing I was young again. How I’d love to scramble up into this great tree. The oak held me there for sometime it’s branches seemingly reaching forever, so mighty and large as it dwarfed me at it’s main trunk. I thought about all the times I’d longed to put my arms around the Giving Tree to thank him/her for all she gave to Michael. The smell here an earthy and refreshing scent as the oak leaves scrunched under my feet. I walked on down the road to view Holly Terrace again from this angle. Yes it overlooked the relative to the Giving Tree and the babies in both places.

The tour was not over yet. As I looked up the hill from the tree toward Holly Terrace I was shown at the foot of the Sunrise Slope is yet another beautifully carved marble statue of a mother with two little children and down the way on the back side of the Mausoleum where Elizabeth Taylor is entombed is a happy family carved in white marble. Here the man in the statue brought back memories of a painting that David Nordahl had done of Michael.

Feeling like I needed to just stop and breath for a while I drove down to the Oak tree turn around at the Little Chapel of Flowers. I sat gazing out the window thinking about how I had just come to Forest Lawn today to drop off one heartfelt flower for Michael for a good friend. Deep in thought I blinked as I saw several little orange butterflies fluttering about in the ivy field in front of my car. My mind immediately went to the butterfly release on June 25th and I wondered, “Oh! Did they stay close by?” but these were a much smaller variety. There were several though. Lovely orange and black butterflies and one black and yellow happily flitting from leaf to leaf in a meadow of ivy. All I could think of was, “Well how perfect is that?”

Deciding to move on I thought of the lily pond this time of year. The lily pads are just beginning to grow and I wondered if they were in bloom yet. So up the front hill I went to capture the statue of the mother and baby just over the knoll from MJ’s Ascension windows. Yes there were lilies, just a few, some peach and pink lily pad flowers blooming today. Soon the pond will be full of these lovely flowers.

Before abandoning my tour completely to head home I stopped to see the beautiful front fountains up close. I’ve never taken the time to look this closely as I usually have one purpose in mind when visiting Forest Lawn, to visit Michael at Holly Terrace only. Today though I smiled as I took a close up view of the little frogs spouting water out toward the tall crane fountain at center pond. Noticing too the rolling meadow of grass was pristine, cut in a patch work design leading the eye down the hill to the main fountain. I’ve never taken the time to look this closely and in so doing I was led toward the back of the pond for yet another joyful discovery of two little bronze statues. Yes Michael would enjoy these... two children gleefully holding ducks they had obviously plucked from the pond. Of course my mind immediately went to Neverland. What a perfect way to end today’s Michael journey and tour.

I thanked God for showing me all that is so 'Michael' at Forest Lawn, Holly Terrace, Glendale. 

I’ve for sometime felt that having Michael back at Neverland would be so perfect; however today I swung back the other way. I know nothing. Every time I think I may have figured out life... I find out I know nothing. Only God knows and He continually shows me layers of Himself in all experiences.

After my guided tour today... I see so much of Michael here at Holly Terrace. Truly... really all I could ever hope for is that we could turn back time and there would be no need for any of these thoughts... I’d love to push them and reality aside... Michael would be with us... with his family... fulfilling all those genius plans that only Michael Jackson could ever conceive of... making his joyful God given, beautiful, noise unto the LORD, unto God and the universe. He is not... I accept that now... for me maybe... today was a tour... a journey of acceptance. Yes indeed, Michael is in a beautiful place. He is with God in heaven where there is no more suffering and he is also at Holly Terrace surrounded by children, beauty, peace, art... even a giant oak. So much of all that was Michael, for us... still is Michael... surrounds him here. It is us... those left behind that continue to heal. Today was a day of healing. 


September 1, 2012

While delivering the flowers to the baby in memory of MJ I lost my keys.
Robyn thankfully found them; however while
we were searching for them, our friend Craig found this
grave marker in the heart at Lullaby Land.
"Our Tinkerbell"
This sweet angel took her heavenly place
around the same time that Disneyland's Peter Pan had made it's debut.
Michael at Holly Terrace overlooking this spot for all eternity.

On Michael's birthday Aug. 29, 2012 I visited Forest Lawn, Holly Terrace, to deliver flowers, cards and wishes of LOVE and respect to Michael from fans from the Michael Jackson Fans of Southern California Face Book page. I met my dear friends and we then took flowers to the babies at Lullabye Land and Babyland in Michael's memory. We felt this was a truly meaningful expression of LOVE for Michael that he would so approve of. Only days after Michael's birthday my beautiful friend Robyn Starkand stretched her heart wide open in this beautiful video applying George Michael's rendition of "They Won't Go Where I Go" which Stevie Wonder sang at Michael's memorial at Staple's Center. 
This video is THE most beautiful video she has created thus far! An ultimately sublime spiritual expression of the love, sorrow and grief which engulfs the still melancholy hearts MJ fans around the world. Thank you, Robyn, for sharing this stunning and hauntingly beautiful elucidation of LOVE of and for Michael Jackson. It reaches deep and touches the depths of the soul and heart, the artistic and spiritual place where Michael lived his life daily. God truly blessed this world with the gift of Michael Jackson. He will be forever missed.


A little history about the founder of Forest Lawn:

Dr. Hubert Eaton - Life Magazine photo
Yes the thought of spending a day at a cemetery may seem morbid at first thought but then Forest Lawn cemeteries are not morbid places of death. When my children were younger we would visit the different Forest Lawn cemeteries for amazing, home-school field trips. These are beautiful parks filled with art and beauty. Costumed actors portrayed Michael Angelo, Leonardo DiVinci and Abraham Lincoln presented incredible inspired lessons in art, painting, sculpture and history. I clearly remember the sound of children's laughter echoing across the rolling hills.

When I first heard that Michael was being buried in this beautiful place I immediately remembered the Michael Angelo field trip and thought of MJ's love of art and children feeling somehow it was so fitting for him to be so near the replicas of La Pieta, Night and Day, Twilight and Dawn statues and yes... the sound of children laughing.

Forest Lawn was founded in 1917 by Dr. Hubert Eaton. Dr. Eaton said he didn't want a religious stained glass window like all the others at Forest Lawn to honor him after he died so he commissioned a different type of painted/stained glass window which depicts children playing with their new presents at the foot of a Christmas tree on Christmas morning. This too is so reminiscent of Michael. Although Dr. Eaton is entombed in the main mausoleum this window is placed off the main hall inside Holly Terrace just before going up over the bridge to the main mausoleum.  The back side of this window can be seen from the street at the main mausoleum entrance. The colorless back side of this window is in complete contrast to the brilliant colors of the actual window front when the sun hits it. Knowing Michael's love of Christmas and of course the many joyful Christmases he spent with his own children it brings happiness to know that Michael is so near this beautiful Christmas window. 

Wikipedia excerpt:
Eaton was a firm believer in a joyous life after death. He was convinced that most cemeteries were "unsightly, depressing stoneyards" and pledged to create one that would reflect his optimistic, Christian beliefs, "as unlike other cemeteries as sunshine is unlike darkness." He envisioned Forest Lawn to be "a great park devoid of misshapen monuments and other signs of earthly death, but filled with towering trees, sweeping lawns, splashing fountains, beautiful statuary, and ... memorial architecture"

Another of my stories about Michael's resting place:
A Place Without No Name

This story also includes much info and many pictures of Holly Terrace:
LOVE'S Invisible Work


  1. I'm wiping me tears. Betty thank you for taking the time to do this for me today and better yet to take the time to smell the roses if you will. It sounds like Heaven out there. I want to go there. I wish if I were to die I could afford to be buried there but then again, I suppose it doesn't matter where we are buried. We will all be in a better place if we are good and loving on this earth. The babies, I feel for them. To die so young. :-( I'm glad you visited them and took notice. The statues are beautiful, everything is so beautiful, especially our Michael. Thank you so much Betty. - Love, Bonnie

    1. Your very welcome Bonnie. It was a privilege to deliver your flower for sweet Michael. As I delivered the sunflowers to the babies I also thought of you... you were there with me. God bless you sweet lady.

  2. Last year my BFF & I decided to spend a day at FL searching for the "stars" that where there. We had so much fun. We were very respectful of the grounds, we laid a flower where we could. We walked thru the baby area and where amazed at the beauty of the area. The sculptures, marble, ganite are just breathtaking. I may seen unsual to some that we would chose to spend a day at a cemetary, but Forest Lawn isn't just a cemetary it's a place with amazing history. I loved our little adventure and will continue to be at Forest Lawn as often as I can (I live in Oregon). I just ask that if anyone how would like to explore Forest Lawn that you do it with the upmost respect. Thank you Betty for the beautiful photos. Those how are not able to visit Forest Lawn and see it thru your eyes.
    Much Love, Shelly

    1. You're very welcome, Shelly. Happy you have been able to visit Forest Lawn and experience the peace and beauty.

  3. Betty, You really captured the peace and beauty of Forest Lawn and how it captured your heart and mind and soul, with your words. I have this dream that one day I will visit it too. Nina Hamilton. UK.

    1. I'm happy you enjoyed the journey with me Nina. I hope you make it here in person one day too. God bless you.

  4. Usually I am a "silent reader", but this time I couldn't resist to comment :)
    I love to read all of your articles... they soothe the heartache.
    Since I read Eaton's "Builder's Creed" in 2009,
    I knew Katherine Jackson was right about her choice of Michael's resting place.
    Everything is so Michael-like-love... and you proof it, Betty with this beautiful article and photos!
    I wish to visit Forest Lawn once myself.
    With gratitude for your mission and sharing this for those who live far,
    I bow to you and with much L.O.V.E. from Belgium,

    From an annual One Rose for Michael:)

    1. I'm so happy you were blessed by the journey and the story. I hope you can also personally visit one day and experience first hand the peace and beauty. God bless you Dania. <3 Thank you for your beautiful comment.

  5. Hello Betty, thanks for sharing! So beautiful! I will also take a trip there at early oct. Can i know if holly terrace is located inside the Great Mausoleum? As i searched in the forest lawn visitor guide, photo taking is prohibited. Is that true? Thks!! ……carey fm Hkg.

    1. Hello Ng Yee Wan,
      Holly Terrace is not located in the Great Mausoleum. It is located in the building across the street and adjacent to the Great Mausoleum. They are connected by an overhead bridge. As you approach the Great Mausoleum continue to the left under the bridge and Holly Terrace will be on the left and up the stairs. No one is allowed inside Holly Terrace. People do take pictures outside.

      Elizabeth Taylor is buried inside the Great Mausoleum at the very end of the main entrance hallway under the grand white angel statue; however pictures are not allowed.
      Have a wonderful trip!

    2. Hi Betty, thanks for your useful info. i m clear now. U re very kind... cheers, carey

  6. I just happened to find you today, and I want to thank you for taking me on your journey with you. There is comfort in sharing our love for Michael and there is a bond from Michael's heart to our our's that runs through the very fiber of who he was and how he has touched our lives with his love and the legacy that he left behind. "It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you...it's what you leave behind you when you go." I may never get the opportunity to visit his resting place, so thank you for giving me that gift and for being my "eyes":)

    God bless you:)