Like all of Michael Jackson's eight brothers and sisters, Rebbie Jackson was crushed by the King of Pop's death June 25, 2009.
But for Rebbie, the oldest sibling, it came at a particularly difficult time. After just a handful of concerts and recordings in a decade, Rebbie -- best known for her 1984 hit ''Centipede'' -- had recently ventured back into performing. She played a show in Scranton and had others scheduled when Michael died.
''It was the most horrible experience I've ever, ever, ever had in my life,'' Jackson, 59, says in a recent phone interview from her Las Vegas home. ''It was very difficult and it still is, because for each and every day you get up, I didn't know how to put one foot in front of the other one. I mean, I just couldn't function.''
Ten months later, Rebbie (pronounced ''Ree-Bee'') will return to the stage -- again in Scranton -- on Saturday when she headlines ''A Nod to Greatness: Motown and More,'' a concert also featuring former Temptations lead singer Damon Harris and his tribute band at Lackawanna College's Mellow Theater.
The concert will be the first by a member of the Jackson family in the United States since Michael's death (brother Tito has performed with Gladys Knight in Europe, she says.)
But Rebbie emphatically says it won't be a tribute event for Michael.
''What I'm doing is my show that I normally perform when I'm touring or whenever I've done anything in the Vegas area,'' she says. She says she performs the songs of The Jackson 5 as well as Michael, ''but it's not a tribute to my brother Michael.''
The low-profile show seems incongruous with the high-profile Jackson family, but it's consistent with Rebbie's sporadic career.
By the time the Jackson 5 became a hit in 1969, Maureen ''Rebbie'' Jackson already was married to Nathaniel Brown and living in Kentucky. It wasn't until 1974, when she performed with the family in Las Vegas, and later on the CBS-TV show, ''The Jacksons,'' that Rebbie entered show business.
Even then, she says, ''I made my own contacts and I recorded in different studios, and it was something that I did by myself without the assistance and help with my family at first. When I first came to California, nobody knew who I was or anything about me. I was a mystery to just about everybody, because most people didn't even know that the Jacksons had another sister.''
She sang back-up for The Emotions and Grammy-winning R&B singer Betty Wright and worked with Isaac Hayes before starting to record a solo album. Before the disc was done, Michael -- flush off the huge success of his album ''Thriller'' -- stepped in to write and produce ''Centipede'' for her.
''What can I say?'' she says. ''When it comes to the music, when it comes to producing, singing as well as writing, he is incredible. He was incredible in the studio when I recorded 'Centipede.' ''
The song hit No. 4 on the R&B chart and went gold. She had two more albums and two Top 20 hits, but by 1988 had largely left the music business to raise three children -- daughters Stacee and Yashi and son Austin ''Auggie'' Brown.
Around the same time, the career of youngest sister Janet took off, with the release of her ''Control'' album and its hits ''Nasty'' and ''What Have You Done for Me Lately.'' It sold more than 5 million copies.
It was 10 more years before Rebbie released ''Yours Faithfully,'' an album on Michael's MJJ Records label. For it, he wrote and produced the song ''Fly Away,'' and sang on the chorus, Rebbie says. Her children all contributed backing vocals, and Stacee's husband, Rex Salas, also appeared on the disc.
But it did not hit the charts, and Rebbie worked only sporadically in the next 10 years -- there was a stint in Vegas and a 2008 appearance on hitmaking jazz producer/songwriter/musician Preston Glass's song ''Save the Stress for Last'' on his ''Music as Medicine'' album.
In the meantime, Rebbie became a grandmother, and watched her son Austin and Salas make strides in music.
Austin worked with Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Rodney Jerkins and other artists and hopes to have a disc out soon, Rebbie says. Salas was Janet Jackson's music director for years and worked with Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Cher and others, Jackson says.
Like Rebbie, Michael was preparing for a series of comeback concerts when he died of an overdose of sedatives and painkillers. His doctor, Conrad Murray, was charged with manslaughter on Feb. 8.
But she says it was Michael's private life as her brother, not his public personna, that she remembers.
''That's what the public has to realize; it's not always about his accomplishments and all that,'' she says. ''He was my brother. I used to walk Michael to school, and I used to walk him to my grandmother's house when he was a little bitty kid because my grandmother babysat him, and she lived a long ways away, and then I would go to a school that was close to her area. I was one of the ones that helped raise him.''
Because of Rebbie's stability, in particular her 41-year marriage, she was reported to be the likely person to raise, and perhaps get custody of, Michael's children Prince, Paris and Blanket.
''Right now the children are at home with my mom in California, and I help out as much as I possibly can. ... I go back all the time,'' she says with a laugh. ''I've been away from home so much, but I'm there a lot, as much as I can be.''
Three weeks ago, she was in public for the first time since Michael's death when she accompanied Janet to the New York premiere of Janet's movie ''Why Did I Get Married Too?''
She says she's looking at her brother's legacy ''from a totally different perspective.''
''I was very reluctant, prior to now, to performing at all because I did not want to do anything; I personally didn't,'' she says. ''I've been offered opportunities to perform and I've turned them down. But now I feel comfortable -- it's been a substantial amount of time ... and I'm dealing with it and I feel OK right now.
''But even last night, since you asked me this question, I woke up, I think, around 3 in the morning. And I keep my TV on sometimes on the music channel -- Soundscape easy listening music. And I just started thinking about him and I couldn't stop. So it hurts.''