Watching the extensive news coverage about Michael Jackson this past week, I was struck by the loneliness at the core of Michael's life despite all the fans and all the handlers and assistants that surrounded him. Of course, a number of people made references and comparisons to Elvis’ passing.
All this has stirred within me so many memories from my years with Elvis, and some of our conversations about his life and what he was experiencing. Elvis loved his life and the position he was in. With his playful sense of humor he would smile, "You know they say it's lonely at the top - but I'll tell you what....I love that lonesome feeling."
Yet deep down Elvis experienced an existential longing that couldn't be filled by millions of fans, close friends, fame nor fortune. One night in Las Vegas during the last year of his life he said to me,” Lawrence, you know I have feelings flowing through my veins just like everyone else. I'm human. I'd love to get married again and have more children. Don't you think that I'd love to find my soul mate?" His voice and the look on his face reflected a heart full of sadness and passion. "I want you to put yourself in my shoes, and think about this. How could I ever know for sure if a woman is in love with me - or Elvis Presley? How could I really know for sure?"
"Elvis as far as I'm concerned you've only had one, real lasting love affair.."
He looked puzzled. "Who is that Lawrence?"
"Your fans, Elvis, the public; that's been the great, lasting love affair of your life."
A smile slowly stole over his face. “You're right, you're right; and I've paid a heavy price for it. More than anyone knows…but I wouldn't change it for the world."