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Thursday 14 December 2017
Commentary

My dear friend Karen

Debbie Jacob writes a weekly column for the Newsday. 

There are special people who come into our lives and leave us with life-long memories that can never be erased. For me, Karen Lowery was one such person.

Sadly, there are many people in Trinidad and Tobago who don’t know what a loss we all suffered when Karen Lowery passed away on November 13.

Karen was not your headline-grabbing entertainer, but she was vitally important to the entertainment industry in Trinidad and Tobago as the person behind the scenes discovering, nurturing and booking some of our country’s talent.

She secured visas — not only for entertainers, but for immigrants, particularly West Indian immigrants to the US. She helped many families navigate their way through the intimidating bureaucracy of securing visas.

Karen’s life had one theme: family. Warm and friendly, Karen celebrated families — hers and others — including the Carnival family that consisted of performers.

Her running commentaries on Facebook about her son Kenny’s soca career bubbled with enthusiasm and love as did her running commentary of her daughter Faine’s delivery of CCN’s news.

Karen’s ability to create a happy family seems extraordinary considering Karen did not come from a happy, cozy home with a mother and father. Thankfully, she had other relatives who supported her as a child, and she took advantage of every opportunity they provided for her — including the decision to immigrate to the US.

Karen’s childhood experiences could have made her a bitter, negative, cynical person. But it didn’t. Instead, she exuded confidence, pride and a genuine warmth. She cared about people, and she celebrated their successes.

I didn’t know what to expect on that first day I met Karen after hearing she had become SuperBlue’s wife a couple of decades ago. I had no idea that she would become one of the women I would admire and respect most in my life. SuperBlue had a penchant for surrounding himself with people who secluded him. Karen opened up his world.

She reached out to me when they came back to Trinidad, and she encouraged me to be SuperBlue’s friend. Karen ensured that positive, supportive people surrounded SuperBlue. She never displayed jealousy in any form.

She managed to orchestrate a grand comeback for SuperBlue, with stunning performances in Soca Monarch competitions, and while I’m sure she was often overwhelmingly busy with her entertainment and visa businesses, she always appeared the epitome of grace and serenity.

Knowing that I can’t stand being in crowds, she arranged for me to attend fetes with her where she kept me company back stage or in VIP. Once, she got VIP tickets costing $900 for a Michael Bolton Mother’s Day show.

When Karen invited me to go with her, I felt indescribably touched. No one had ever given me such an extravagant present for Mother’s Day. We had so much fun on that unforgettable night — and I am not even a Michael Bolton fan.

Karen thought of others more than herself, and so it was no surprise to me that Kenny and Faine should ask everyone at their mother’s funeral to heed signals of changing health — like those that their mother ignored before she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

It is so painful to part with special people like Karen. I got through it by watching her brave dignified children with so much of the magnetism their mother possessed. Like Faine reminded us, there is so much of Karen in her and Kenny.

Karen would have been proud and comforted in knowing how much of her strength, creativity and warmth they possess. She truly would be proud. Rest in peace, my dear, kind friend.

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