Leonard Cohen’s last lettermain
It was a death he foretold to a mutual friend, in an email sent 30 days ago, on October 12.
He would have liked to be part of our project, Leonard wrote, but his strength was fading and he was confined to bed. And more, besides.
He did not need to write that letter. We knew he was gravely ill. But Leonard never left his lines unfinished. Seldom have I seen evidence of death faced with greater courage, certainty – and exquisite courtesy.
Aside from being his country’s greatest musician and the poet of our lives, Leonard Cohen was the kindest, most considerate of men. A mensch in a world full of monsters.
‘I am ready, my Lord,’ he whispered in what would be his final song.
Leonard Cohen died last night at the age of 82.
May his precious soul rest in peace.
During the summer, he said this to David Remnick of the New Yorker:
What is on Cohen’s mind now is family, friends, and the work at hand. “I’ve had a family to support, so there’s no sense of virtue attached to it,” he said. “I’ve never sold widely enough to be able to relax about money. I had two kids and their mother to support and my own life. So there was never an option of cutting out. Now it’s a habit. And there’s the element of time, which is powerful, with its incentive to finish up. Now I haven’t gotten near finishing up. I’ve finished up a few things. I don’t know how many other things I’ll be able to get to, because at this particular stage I experience deep fatigue. . . . There are times when I just have to lie down. I can’t play anymore, and my back goes fast also. Spiritual things, baruch Hashem”—thank God—“have fallen into place, for which I am deeply grateful.”
And so, everlastingly, are we.