February 4, 1983. A two lane road heading into Hillsborough, NC. Why? What was I doing on that road? For the life of me I cannot remember. What I clearly remember is the DJ on the radio announcing Karen Carpenter’s death. I remember when Lennon was shot and killed. I sat in my car the night for an hour outside my girlfriend’s house. But Karen’s death struck me deeper.
That day the sun was out. I pulled over and balled like a baby. To lose that voice at such a young age. I felt like part of me died with her. Melodramatic as that may sound, Karen and Richard had a knack of picking some of the most poignant songs to sing. For a deeply emotional person, most of what they sung reached deep into the core of human emotion.
And her voice. Her inflections. Her low register. The passion she exuded in each crafted note. God I loved this woman. All the sad stories about her illness are tragic, but the loss of her heart, for me that was most tragic of all. While she lived, I knew she would sing a song that would swirl around in my soul to let me know I was not alone. Someone else felt these deep, emotional chords of love, of loss, of loneliness, and of joy.
So tonight, twenty-nine years after the devastating news, I sit here and listen to what has been missing the past three decades. The void left by her passing has not been filled in my heart and soul. To be sure, there are many great singers out there with great voices, but for me, none fill the gap.
I leave you with this last gem. One of the songs I’ve never been able to get away from. One of the many she sang with a deep conviction. Rest in peace Karen. Many of us still miss you sorely.