A man I never met, but saw perform once, has died. Leonard Cohen, the man whose poetry and music molded me like no other, is dead. Believe me, I do not worship celebrities; I scoff at hearing of people who cry or otherwise emote over the death of movie stars and the like. But tonight, on hearing of Leonard Cohen’s death, I cried. I wept. My wife tried to console me, but I could only continue weeping, wishing I had been his friend.
I wish I could have spoken with him about life and love and death and remembrance and disease and hatred and acceptance and a thousand other topics. When I listened to his music or read his poetry or prose, I felt like the man understood me like no one ever has. I felt like I lived through his words. My emotions were practice for the way he described them with his words. He was a genius, a man who understood emotion better than anyone understands language or art or mathematics.
Tonight, especially tonight, I am grieving for the loss of a man I will always consider the mentor and guide I never met. Leonard Cohen, your life meant so very much. It meant more to me than you, or anyone, will ever know. I survived thoughts of suicide because of you, my friend. Your words were never dark to me. They were light in the form of love.