Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen were close in life and in death — in fact, they died just months apart from each other, and the “So Long, Marianne” singer-songwriter said goodbye through a letter that predicted his own death would come “very soon.”
“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,” the letter read, according to Letters of Note. “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 have to say anything more about that because you know all about that,” the letter continued. “But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”
Ihlen, who was Cohen’s ex-girlfriend, died in August during the final stages of leukemia. Her family sent Cohen a letter in response to detail how she reacted to his words.
“Your letter came when she still could talk and laugh in full consciousness. When we read it aloud, she smiled as only Marianne can. She lifted her hand, when you said you were right behind her, close enough to reach her,” an unidentified representative for the family wrote. “It gave her deep peace of mind that you knew her condition. And your blessing for the journey gave her extra strength. Jan and her friends who saw what this message meant for her, will all thank you in deep gratitude for replying so fast and with such love and compassion.”
If your eyes aren’t watering yet, grab a box of tissues before you read the final paragraph: “In her last hour I held her hand and hummed ‘Bird on a Wire,’ while she was breathing so lightly. And when we left the room, after soul had flown out of the window for new adventures, we kissed her head and whispered your everlasting words. ‘So long, Marianne.’”
Cohen died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday. He was 82.
“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the musician’s Facebook revealed Thursday. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.”