Goodbye Leon

Today has been a special day, a very sad day. Our ecosystem services community has received the terrible news that our beloved friend Leon Braat has died after a short but severe illness. It is hard to accept. Only a few days ago I was chatting with him, and although he was suffering from pain, he remained optimistic. I received the bad news today in the morning and I just stop working. His departure deeply affected me. I took the day off. I cried, a lot, unexpectedly. I like so much my friend, but I realize that I never told him. As I never told him how much I admire him or how grateful I was to his permanent wisdom, to his openness and kindness. Or how much I enjoyed all his tasty anecdotes. As usually happens in our busy lives, there were so many things that I didn’t tell my good friend Leon. We spend our busy lives in front of the computer under the illusion of connection to the people we love, but in reality, the precious moments many times just vanish as sand through our hands…. Precious moments that won’t come back.

As a tribute to Leon, I decided to contact the people I love, my family, my old and new friends, to tell them that I love them and they live in my heart, even if I’m normally not saying so. Is another lesson, a posthumous lesson that I’ve learned from my friend and mentor Leon Braat (R.I.P. 25.03.2021).

With Leon, preparing for some kiting on a windy day in Egmond aan zee.