An Archetypal Kind of Guy

Thousands of us are fascinated by the fact that Leonard Cohen held such a deep hold on our hearts. I have often wondered why this is so. There is his physical beauty, his talent, his wit, his warmth and humanity, yet he was as flawed as any of us.

When he went on the Grand Tour, we were all able to follow him, thanks to the internet. Especially thanks to Allan Showalter and Jarkko Arjatsalo, who has pledged to keep Leonard’s work alive.

I would approach my Mac with excitement. First there were the photos of the dress rehearsals in L.A. Then the first shows in Europe. This went on for several years and our love for Leonard only grew deeper. I saw him twice at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. I also flew to Amsterdam to see the last European show. The photo I chose to put on my bookcase is of him coming down the steps to the stage after taking his bows at Ziggo Arena there.

My small mind wonders how someone as great as Leonard could get sick and die like anyone else. He had robust good health for most of his life, notwithstanding his depressions. He said once that he had “a strong core.” Undoubtedly.

So when the first photos of a plainly ill Cohen were shown, it was not announced that he had leukemia. We don’t know which kind he had or whether he underwent treatment. We just read that he suffered great pain. The last photos helped us realize that he was indeed not immortal.

We had all hoped he would have more healthy years to share with all of us. We weren’t ready for the dream to die. Thankfully, it won’t. All of us continue to listen to his music and read about him. We are hungry for accounts of time spent with him. They are treasures to us now.

So yes, even Leonard Cohen could not escape suffering and death. It doesn’t seem right, somehow. He should have been granted immunity. I say that with a sense of humor and a sense of puzzlement, too. Couldn’t he have saved himself?

Obviously, he is an archetypal kind of guy. That is why he will live on and on and on. Maybe that’s better than we think it is. None of us will ever be disillusioned with him. None of us will ever rue the sweet tears we shed over his absence. There can be no memorial for Leonard, not really. Love just refuses to die.

Vicki Woodyard

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