Leonard Cohen has paid tribute to Marianne Ihlen, the woman who inspired ‘So Long Marianne’ who died last week.
Writing on Facebook, Cohen asked that this letter to him from Jan Christian Mollestad be used in his memorial. Jan Christian Mollestad is currently completing a biographical film about Marianne.
“Marianne slept slowly out of this life yesterday evening. Totally at ease, surrounded by close friends,” the letter began. “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 continued, “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.”
The letter concluded, “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”
Tributes from Kari Hesthamar, author of So Long Marianne – A Love Story and Sylvie Simmons, author of I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen were also included.
Simmons commented, “Marianne came from a time when women were raised to be muses and helpmates, which she was; she loved creative men and she was creative herself. Her life was not the easiest, but nothing seemed to dent her generosity and kindness. A truly beautiful soul.”