The Leonard Cohen Final

Imagine the scene….a mountain stream, tall scented pines towering over the occasional River Birch by waters edge. The noise of a myriad of small waterfalls built by an avalanche of Spring melt.

In addition, I have a library book of my choosing; a collection of a lifetime of scribbles and words compiled as some of his last poems, notebooks, lyrics and drawings: “The Flame.” I first came to an awareness of Leonard Cohen twenty or twenty-five years past as I watched Elvis Stoiko in an ice skating exhibition accompanied by Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man.” I became a fast fan.

Leonard was aware of his coming end as his health leaned him ever closer to the eternal chasm. Many of these writings reflected his face towards death and his utter awareness of the Almighty One. Through his life he often referred to God as G-d as he mirrored the practice of the Jewish peoples in refusing to write the letters indicative of reverence for His holiness.

As I read this afternoon in this aura of sublimity, I read one with a title I didn’t fully understand: “Sicily Cafe,” penned January 15, 2007.

And now that I kneel

at the edge of my years

let me fall through the mirror of love

And the things that I know

let them drift like the snow

let me feel in the light that’s above

In the radiant light

where there’s day and there’s night

and truth is the widest embrace

That includes what is lost

includes what is found

what you write and what you erase

And when will my heart break open

when will my love be born

in this scheme of unspeakable suffering

where even the blueprint is torn.

My mind drifted at the first stanza…”let me fall through the mirror of love.”

I have had the privilege to be present with a fair amount of people facing their last days of living. It’s always in the moment…a clarity through the moments that matter. But one of the sweetest tales was close to my own heart…as my own mother shared with me some of her last moments with my pops in the few months before he died.

As I recall her words, it seemed clear dad knew he was closing in on his hope of eternity. Mom recounts looking over at dad and he was looking at her with a sad countenance. When she probed further, he simple told her how much he loved her and that he wanted her to know that. Then they would spend hours and days recounting their lives together for 67 years…crying, laughing and hugging. Clarity at the last.

We should crave it. Dad passed to Jesus’ arms with mom kneeling beside his bed singing, “Jesus Loves Me.”

“And now that I kneel

at the edge of my years

let me fall through the mirror of love” Leonard Cohen

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