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The Passing of Leonard Cohen

The Passing of Leonard Cohen

So come, my friends, be not afraid
We are so lightly here
It is in love that we are made
In love we disappear

- Leonard Cohen 

It has been several weeks since Leonard Cohen’s death and I have found myself waking each morning with the thought, “Leonard Cohen is gone”. I know this sounds silly, but it’s true. I haven’t been able to write about his passing until now, and so writing this post is my way of finding some closure. A small gesture of “Thank you”, along with a piece of my artwork for Leonard. Somehow ‘blue’ is right for Leonard Cohen.

 In the days following my first knowledge of his passing, I was in the throes, like many people, of the post-US election. Although the actual date of his death was Monday, November 7th, the media announced it on Thursday, November 10th, the day before Remembrance Day. How wisely done, I thought – to wait until the election was over rather than have his passing (and the enormity of it) over-shadowed by the election.

 I found comfort in focusing on Leonard Cohen, along with the rest of the world. His music gave meaning and a ‘sense of place’ to hold and process the madness. “Leonard will get us through”, I thought – or me through. Leonard Cohen’s work made it right; the pain, the loss, and the sorrow of what seemed now, to be a collective entering of an uncertain, new, world order; a changing world, marked by political, economic upheaval and climate change (for those of us who believe in it) on a grand scale.

 Over the past weeks I found myself sifting through digital media, re-posting numerous photos of him to the likes of my Pinterest and Facebook page, and listening to as many radio talk shows as I could about his life. Sending myself numerous emails and links from interviews and articles; devouring as much as I could.

 In the mid-eighties I stopped in Athens on my European travels, and ended up staying there for a year. During my time in Greece, I knew the island of Hydra that Leonard Cohen spent time on.

 After my year in Greece, I went to Japan in 1984. One afternoon I went to see a play and as I sat in the audience waiting for the show to begin, the house music was playing this amazing song with the sounds of Greek music intertwined within it. I was intrigued by it and had to know who it was. I quickly got out of my seat to ask someone “Who is this music?” They told me it was “Leonard Cohen – Dance Me”. It was so Greek and I had just come from there!

In 2012, back in Saskatoon after being away for 15 years, I was able to get tickets to see Leonard Cohen in concert. For anyone who has ever had the rare opportunity to see him in concert, they will know what a special and sacred time it is. What a concert. 

While living in Greece, I had a Greek boyfriend who lived on Hydra. He told me that Leonard Cohen and his girlfriend, Marianne would have parties - he remembered the parties. Hydra, at that time, had no cars on it, only donkeys for transport, aside from one vehicle for garbage collection. I would like to return to Hydra one day and I will. I will visit the island of Hydra and know that Leonard Cohen lived there. 

Thank you Leonard Cohen, for all you gave us.

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1 comment

  • What a lovely tribute Kathleen ❤️


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