In a rare interview, Rebbie Jackson tells PEOPLE, "We're just trying to be a family"

By Lorenzo Benet
Updated March 17, 2010 06:35 PM
Arnold Turner/WireImage

From her seat in the Beverly Hilton International ballroom, Rebbie Jackson watched a big screen quietly with her brother Randy as the Oscars paid tribute to members of the Hollywood community who passed away in 2009. Then the image of her brother Michael appeared.

“When I saw his picture – that was hard, it brought tears,” she told PEOPLE earlier this month at the Children Uniting Nations fundraiser where Rebbie, 59, made a rare public appearance with her brother Randy, 48, to accept the 2010 Angel Award honoring her late brother s support of children s causes. “We miss him so much,” she told the crowd, “and we know you do too.”

Backstage after receiving the award, Rebbie said she took a moment to compose herself. “I got very emotional afterward,” she says. “But I was very pleased and happy to be a part of this – Michael was very passionate about children and supporting their causes. Boy he would have loved this,” she says, smiling. “I’m grateful and thankful to all these people.”

It’s been nine months since Jackson’s death. Asked how else they planned on preserving her brother s legacy, Rebbie says that’s not the focus.

“We’re just trying to be a family and get ourselves through all of it – it has been so much, says Rebbie. “I’m just trying to stay positive. But other than that, Michael’s kids are fine.”
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She added her mother Katherine is “hanging in there” and enjoying spending time with her grandchildren. “Her favorite thing as a grandma is for everyone to come over and play games; especially Pictionary. All the time. Everyone gets involved and we all act silly. She’s a mother every day and she always supports the kids.”