My mother conceived me listening to Leonard Cohen.
I fell in love with a boy because he sent me a mix tape with Leonard Cohen. Mix tapes were how I fell in love, and how I shared my feelings and thoughts.
I was 17 years old, I was impressionable, but when that boy sent me that tape and wrote on the cover in a scribbled note, “Listen to the third song, Suzanne.” I fast forwarded and fell in love with the boy and Mr. Cohen at the same time.
Leonard Cohen has been a part of the soundtrack of my life—from deaths, marriages, homelessness, alcoholism, Buddhism to the full loves of my life.
Praying in every church, sanctuary, and shelter you can imagine for redemption and grace, his voice followed me through.
Digging through garbage to feed myself, while at night, staying in my car to listen to him sing me to sleep and keep me warm, praying my battery would not die.
Dancing to him in my living room, crying on my bedroom floor after every loss in my life.
Twirling in my yard, by myself to the voice that moved my body to places I cannot describe.
Sitting in my living room right now, listening to “Anthem” as my dog Sidney kisses my face, knowing full well this loss is painful to my marrow.
It may seem given the moments of change and sadness and trying to reconcile this week that I would barely note his passing, but his passing is etched in me from conception.
Mr. Cohen’s raspy, deep, seductive, sexy voice that you could always make love lustily in the shower, was never a blasphemy, but felt the deepest compliment.
His voice resonates so deeply with the shadow side of my heart and the light of my heart as I listen to “The Future” as it bleeds into my ears—“they say, repent, repent.” I melt into my couch and my body falls down a rabbit hole made of a lifetime of memories entwined with his lyrics.
The tears stream down my face tonight, burning my cheeks.
I can’t stop.
I sob, my husband, tries to console me knowing he cannot replace a lifetime of love to Leonard Cohen. He will hold me later as I lay in a pile of humanity on my bed. He will remind me again of life.
I feel this week, tumbling through me, this whole year, this whole life, this whole moment, trying to make meaning, Mr. Cohen made meaning for me. He gave me a place in this world through his words.
“I’ve seen the future baby, it is murder.”
I feel that this whole year has been a series of small deaths, and I just want to dance to the end of love to his voice, as it once again sings me to sleep.
Your voice, your albums and my cassettes of young love will always be my reminder of hope, love, lust and a reality you sang that I could understand.
RIP Mr. Cohen, may you find your muse.
Author: Gabriella Moonlight Dahalia
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Caitlin Oriel