Death of an Icon

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By Karen Leach-Toomer

This morning started like any other day, dealing with getting children ready for school and doctor appointments and running errands. Little did I know I would learn the death of the most iconic musician of our time on this lovely spring day. Those that know me have called, texted and sent messages all day. They just don’t know that my heart is hurting so badly. For me, Prince was my adolescence. I discovered Prince’s For You as a young girl followed by Dirty Mind and Controversy. I was too young to understand the sexual innuendo or the impact this man would have on my life. My bedroom at one time had more than 20 pictures of Prince. I remember one time my dad took a 36-inch pull out-red Corvette ad out of a magazine and cut out a picture of Prince and stuck him in there. Prince was part of the family!

I remember my parents giving my brother and me their American Express card and allowing us to purchase Prince concert tickets. He was mesmerizing. His command of the guitar amazed me and at I made a lifetime commitment to this man. Through the years my engagement (yes, I believed I was going to marry him) continued and my love grew stronger. In my yearbook I actually had Prince song lyrics while my fellow prep school grads chose quotes from Socrates, Shakespeare and the other so called great minds. A rebel, I paid homage to my hero regardless of the laughter from my classmates.

I attended one of his concerts in the Village and left because the concertgoers were smoking all sorts of weird shit and it made me so sick. Little did I know that night was going to be amazing. Walking to my car, I caught a glimpse of the rear stage-door entrance. At that instant, I froze. My date for the evening wondered why I could not move. All of a sudden a huge limo pulls up and in slow motion Prince appears from the door. How could this be? I just left him performing on stage.

My memory of what happened next is a little foggy but I heard that I walked up to Prince and said I loved the show and he cracked a half smile and said thank you as he jumped in the limo. At that moment, I could have died a happy woman. As the years went on, Prince was no longer my spouse-to-be because I thought I found my real life Prince Charming.

I attended concerts but the little girl giggles were gone. His fan base had changed, his music wasn’t as relevant to me and frankly, I had a life. When I heard last week that Prince was sick, I didn’t want to believe the rumors and I believed this immortal man would bounce back. When I saw the reports that he died, I really thought it was a hoax until I saw that AJ Calloway posted an RIP. A journalist wouldn’t lie! My heart sank.

As I write this, a pain in my chest won’t go away. While napping, I could hear Prince’s song “God”. New fans know nothing about that song. It can’t be found on the Internet. Only real fans from the beginning know about many of his B-side songs.

In my saddened state I have two wishes. First, I want Prince to join my dad in heaven and have a hell of a jam session. Second, I want Prince’s family to share his extensive catalogue of music with the world for future generations. I know I must exist in this world for now, but without my Prince, it is going to be a little bit emptier.