Leonard Cohen RIP

November 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

Leonard Cohen has died.  He was 82.

A few weeks ago, he released his last album, You Want It Darker.  I haven’t been able to listen to it, because I knew this was coming.  He has been preparing us for his death for some time.  In July, his first muse, Marianne Ilhen, died at the age of 81 in Norway.  He wrote her a final letter.  In it he said:

Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.

And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.

Earlier this fall, his son, Adam, told us his father wasn’t doing so well physically.  So we knew.

But that doesn’t prepare us for his death.  Leonard Cohen is dead.

My mother introduced me to Cohen when I was a child.  He played alongside Bob Dylan on our stereo.  When I really got into music as a teenager, Leonard Cohen was waiting for me then, too.  He resumed his place on the soundtrack to my life.  His music, his poetry, his literature, have all been a constant in my world for nearly 40 years. It has soothed me, challenged me, inspired me, and sheltered me.

I chanced to meet him once, in Calgary, 20-some years ago.  I told him this.  He looked a little stunned, and then blushed deeply.  He thanked me.  We talked of other things for a bit. And then we parted.

Like him, I am from Montreal. He wrote that one never leaves Montreal. It is always with us. And he was right. He was a wanderer. Like him, I have wandered and now live far from home.  He has always been out there, wandering somewhere in the universe, comforting me.  And now he is dead.

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