So come, my friends, be not afraid
We are so lightly here
It is in love that we are made
In love we disappear

- Leonard Cohen 

It has been several weeks since Leonard Cohen’s death and I have found myself waking each morning with the thought, “Leonard Cohen is gone”. I know this sounds silly, but it’s true. I haven’t been able to write about his passing until now, and so writing this post is my way of finding some closure. A small gesture of “Thank you”, along with a piece of my artwork for Leonard. Somehow ‘blue’ is right for Leonard Cohen.

 In the days following my first knowledge of his passing, I was in the throes, like many people, of the post-US election. Although the actual date of his death was Monday, November 7th, the media announced it on Thursday, November 10th, the day before Remembrance Day. How wisely done, I thought – to wait until the election was over rather than have his passing (and the enormity of it) over-shadowed by the election.

 I found comfort in focusing on Leonard Cohen, along with the rest of the world. His music gave meaning and a ‘sense of place’ to hold and process the madness. “Leonard will get us through”, I thought – or me through. Leonard Cohen’s work made it right; the pain, the loss, and the sorrow of what seemed now, to be a collective entering of an uncertain, new, world order; a changing world, marked by political, economic upheaval and climate change (for those of us who believe in it) on a grand scale.

 Over the past weeks I found myself sifting through digital media, re-posting numerous photos of him to the likes of my Pinterest and Facebook page, and listening to as many radio talk shows as I could about his life. Sending myself numerous emails and links from interviews and articles; devouring as much as I could.

 In the mid-eighties I stopped in Athens on my European travels, and ended up staying there for a year. During my time in Greece, I knew the island of Hydra that Leonard Cohen spent time on.

 After my year in Greece, I went to Japan in 1984. One afternoon I went to see a play and as I sat in the audience waiting for the show to begin, the house music was playing this amazing song with the sounds of Greek music intertwined within it. I was intrigued by it and had to know who it was. I quickly got out of my seat to ask someone “Who is this music?” They told me it was “Leonard Cohen – Dance Me”. It was so Greek and I had just come from there!

In 2012, back in Saskatoon after being away for 15 years, I was able to get tickets to see Leonard Cohen in concert. For anyone who has ever had the rare opportunity to see him in concert, they will know what a special and sacred time it is. What a concert. 

While living in Greece, I had a Greek boyfriend who lived on Hydra. He told me that Leonard Cohen and his girlfriend, Marianne would have parties - he remembered the parties. Hydra, at that time, had no cars on it, only donkeys for transport, aside from one vehicle for garbage collection. I would like to return to Hydra one day and I will. I will visit the island of Hydra and know that Leonard Cohen lived there. 

Thank you Leonard Cohen, for all you gave us.

December 03, 2016 by Kathleen O'Grady