They looked lovely and dignified, they sat grieving but proud.  Their friends gave moving tributes to their son, brother and father.  At the BET Awards last week, when his fans were still shocked at Michael's death, a heartbroken Janet took the stage to remind the audience "to you, Michael is an icon, but to us, he is family."  And this was definitely a family-centered service, in the true, extended-family way.

Whatever issues they may have with each other from time to time, the Jacksons came together to celebrate their loved one with quiet style and great presence.

Let's keep that picture in our heads when we have this sad duty in the future.

Karen Grigsby Bates is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News and co-author, with Karen Elyse Hudson, of The New Basic Black: Home Training For Modern Times (Doubleday).

is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News and co-author, with Karen Elyse Hudson, of The New Basic Black: Home Training For Modern Times (Doubleday).