by VVN Music
For much of the 60's, Leonard Cohen had a relationship with Marianne Ihlen, a Norwegian born woman who he met while living in Hydra, Greece.
Ihlen became his muse and was the inspiration for songs such as So Long, Marianne, Bird on a Wire and Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye.
Marianne Ihlen died on July 29 after battling leukemia. She was 81 years old. Before she died Cohen sent her a touching note.
Documentary filmmaker Jan Christian Mollestad was a close friend of Marianne's and recently spoke with the CBC in Canada. He said that Ihlen, with whom he had made a film, contacted him to say that she was in the end stage of the disease and only had a few days to live. She also asked him to let Cohen know.
According to Mollestad, he wrote to Cohen who returned a letter for Marianne within two hours.
It 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…
When I read the lines "stretch out your hand," she stretched out her hand. Only two days later she lost consciousness and slipped into death. I wrote a letter back to Leonard saying in her final moments I hummed "A Bird on a Wire" because that was the song she felt closest to. And then I kissed her on the head and left the room, and said "so long, Marianne."