Leonard Cohen‘s amazing letter to Marianne Ihlen has hearts melting. Over the weekend, a letter penned by Canadian icon Mr. Cohen was made public. The very personal and moving letter was written for his muse and lover, Ihlen.
Ihlen, who was also known as Marianne C. Stang Jensen Ihlen, and the famous poet and novelist were together for almost ten years. The lovers met in the 1960s while Ihlen and her baby boy were on vacation in Greece. They fell in love, and he asked her to move in with him to Montreal.
During their seven years together, Ihlen inspired classics such as “So Long, Marianne,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” and “Bird on the Wire.” After a lengthy battle with cancer, Ihlen died in her native Norway on July 28, 2016.
Few days before her death, Jan Christian Mollestad, a very close friend of Ihlen, contacted Cohen and revealed her failing health. Hours after the conversation with Mollestad, Cohen sent him a moving letter and asked him to read it to Ihlen. Mollestad, a filmmaker, said the letter read in part:
“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 for 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.’”
Mollestad penned a letter to Cohen detailing Ihlen’s reaction to his words and her final moments. Mollestad wrote:
“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, close enough to reach her. It gave her deep peace of mind that you knew her condition. And your blessing for the journey gave her extra strength.”
He went on to say:
“In her last hour I held her hand and hummed ‘Bird on a Wire,’ while she was breathing so lightly. And when we left he room, after her soul had flown out of the window for new adventures, we kissed her head and whispered your everlasting words: So long, Marianne.”
Via Facebook, Mr. Cohen and many of his longtime collaborators remembered Ihlen with a series of written tributes and videos.