In memorial of Payt by Bas

November 18, 2009

Payt was my buddy; he was a warm friendly social dynamic guy who enjoyed the simple things in life. In his approach to people he was open, funny and without attitude. He created a nice group of friends, family and colleagues around him and always stayed in touch. Payt was a perfectionist who worked hard, was very loyal and had his things prepared. People loved him because of his humanness and his wide interest in cultures, habits, food (especially cheese) and places.

I met Payt in Italy (Milan) when he worked for us in the H3G project. He was able to solve things and get along with the customer easily. We both had respect for each other’s job and went out for dinner one night. That night we ate Tuscan food in Ristorante Dalla Zia in Milan. We both got along pretty well and went for a drink in anear bar. The thing I remember was that we were laughing the whole night and had a great conversation. I worked with Peter since and we became very good friends over the years.

Payt was my soul mate and we shared lot of things together.

Payt was a pure and simple guy. He wasn’t impressed by material possessions; he couldn’t care less. He was able to lead and cheer a group as friend, manager and coach. People never felt a distance to him and folks often surrounded him. What I admired in Peter was that he was very social and really kind. He always went the extra mile for me not only at work but especially in private matters. With Payt as a friend you always knew there was somebody besides you, somebody you could rely on or ask for advice. When I was house-bound due to a knee surgery he came to visit me in Rome several times to catch up. I really appreciated this.

And spending time with Payt was guaranteed fun.

In July 2007, Payt and I went out in Rome. We started with a great Italian dinner (Payt veggies of course) with a nice Barolo. After two bottles we thought to have a beer on Piazza Navona but ended up in a street where there wasn’t beer so we started to drink caparinha’s. But at 02:00 the pub closed and we had to go home…so we walked back to the car and passed a discotheque. I wanted to impress Payt (in my city) so talked us inside by chatting with the bouncer and skipped the line. We were laughing all the time and Payt started to introduce himself to everybody in the joint. We were standing in a narrow corridor and everybody who passed got a hand of Payt. The situation became hilarious because he didn’t stop and introduced himself (“Hello my name is Peter!”) again and again to the same people. At a certain point he asked me how well I was in fighting because he had the feeling to get smacked in the face very soon. We laughed and left the building early morning… Unfortunately we couldn’t find the car any more and after two hours walking through downtown we decided to take a taxi which we had to do in the first place of course but we weren’t that clear at that point. Around 07:00 we arrived at my home and discovered that Peter had to leave because his plane was leaving at 08:15 or something… It was one of the best nights out in my life and I will never forget the fun we had that evening.

Not only his funny behaviors but also his stories cracked me up.

In February 2008, Payt and I went for a golf weekend in Barcelona. At that time the tumor was already recognized and he was waiting for his surgery to remove the tumor. We played on a small golf course. Payt hadn’t played for almost twenty years but was able to get around pretty well. He told me the story why he quit golfing. When he was living in Japan he played golf one day and wasn’t in a good shape. His balls were flying everywhere and he got frustrated and more frustrated each hole. At a certain point he lost his temper and wacked the golf clubs in the pond! He was so angry with himself that he quit playing straight away; he had enough of it! When he told me the story tears of laughter were rolling over my face. What an incredible guy…

Besides good laughter we of course had long and serious talks about his illness that weekend.

We always easily switched between serious and fun topics in our conversations. As we say in Dutch; “a laugh and a tear go hand in hand together”. Payt’s ability to simplify complex matters combined with good recommendations helped me out in many cases. I’m grateful for his wise advice and insight in life matters.

Payt wanted to be in control all the time but unfortunately his illness wasn’t something he could manage. He fought for two years and was optimistic most of the time but it was a long and unfair battle. His body was ill while he wanted to live and finish the things he started. He wanted to finish his “to-do list of life” and to recover from the cancer but it didn’t work out that way. We had many conversations about the end and his death, which was sometimes difficult to accept. The last conversation I had with him was on the 5th of October 2009 at his bed where we discussed the “last mile”. He told me, he was done with his life, he was tired…very tired. At first when the cancer was discovered he was scared to die…he couldn’t accept that this was it. He was too young; he still had so many plans. But he won the battle; he walked up the mountain and reached the summit. He overcame his fear of dying and got in peace with himself. He told me that walking downhill (actual dying) was just a logistical little problem… We said goodbye to each other and I knew this was the last time I would see him alive. My buddy was done with his beautiful life and he did it his way. I will seriously miss him! I deeply respect him.

Bas Lemmens, Australia


One comment

  1. What a beautiful remembrance post.

    “My buddy was done with his beautiful life and he did it his way” ~ such an important thing. It makes me happy and yet sad to read it.

    Best wises from Jan (Sidmouth, Devon, UK)

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