La Toya Jackson: Life After Michael's Death

La Toya tells Walters Paris laid stones on Michael's chest in final goodbye.

ByABC News
September 9, 2009, 5:04 PM

Sept. 11, 2009— -- In an emotional interview with Barbara Walters, La Toya Jackson, the 53-year-old sister of pop icon Michael Jackson, describes how she was overcome with grief when she heard the tragic news of her brother's death June 25.

"I got so weak, I couldn't drive. And ... I was asking anybody on the streets, 'Please, can you drive me to the hospital, please?'" she told Walters. "Everything left my body. I was so weak, I couldn't accelerate."

La Toya, who was the first one to appear at her brother's bedside the day he died, said that despite overwhelming grief, she had to pull herself together for the well-being of Michael's three children.

"I went into the room ... and there is my mother sitting down. And there are the kids, all three of them, on her ... sitting on her lap, just crying as loud as they could. ... They were just crying uncontrollably," she said. "And there I was screaming and crying when I realized it was actually true. ... And I caught myself and said, 'You have to be strong for the kids. Stop it. Get a grip to yourself,' and that's what I did."

Watch Barbara Walters's exclusive interview with La Toya on "20/20" TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET

"And trying to comfort them," La Toya remembers, "my mother was so strong ... I was very proud of her, the way she handled herself, her conduct was great."

The family's grief was captured on camera during the public memorial service for the pop superstar, as Michael's 12-year-old daughter, Paris, delivered tearful remarks in which she declared her undying love for her father. La Toya told Walters that during the service, Paris "wanted so badly to say something to her father."

"I think it was ... Stevie Wonder that was on. And she said, 'Auntie La Toya, can I go on now and say something to daddy?' And I started thinking, I said, 'You know what, Paris? At the end we're all going to say goodbye and go on stage and thank the audience and say goodbye.' I said, 'I think that would be a great opportunity for you to go then.' And she said, 'OK, I'll do it then.'"

The night before the memorial, there was also a very private farewell between the father and daughter, when Paris visited Michael's open casket and laid stones on his chest, La Toya said.

"Paris did visit the casket. And she put two stones on his chest. ... They were beautiful. They looked like emeralds," La Toya said. "And it was so sweet and so kind and so delicate and so warm. And I just ... I just loved that."