The death last week of Marianne Ihlen, the woman immortalized in “So Long, Marianne,” has evoked an overwhelming response from those who knew Marianne well, those who knew her only as Leonard Cohen's muse, and even those who previously didn't know there was a "real Marianne." Because of the intimate connection between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen, Leonard's Facebook Page now offers viewers the opportunity to submit their thoughts, memories, poems, etc about Marianne - including those already posted elsewhere - in the comments section as an ongoing memorial to her. Posted by Allan Showalter.
Leonard asked that this letter to him from Jan Christian Mollestad be used in this memorial:
Marianne slept slowly out of this life yesterday evening. Totally at ease, surrounded by close friends.
Your letter came when she still could talk and laugh in full consciousness. When we read it aloud, she smiled as only Marianne can. She lifted her hand, when you said you were right behind, close enough to reach her.
It gave her deep peace of mind that you knew her condition. And your blessing for the journey gave her extra strength. Jan and her friends who saw what this message meant for her, will all thank you in deep gratitude for replying so fast and with such love and compassion.
In her last hour I held her hand and hummed Bird on a Wire, while she was breathing so lightly. And when we left he room, after her soul had flown out of the window for new adventures, we kissed her head and whispered your everlasting words
So long, Marianne"