Hommage to Christian de Laet

by Marisha Wojciechowska

Nounou meant the world to me.

As news of his passing is slowly and reluctantly sinking in, countless flashes of special times threaded in over a period of twenty odd years are flooding back. He is one of the pillars of my existence, his teachings weaved into my very core. I was not prepared to face a life without his twinkling eyes and his mischievous smile and am at a loss for writing these words. I miss him.

As some of you know, I heard the news directly from Susan on the day he passed on. I was impressed with just how peaceful and composed she sounded. Being alone at dawn in a Singapore hotel room, her calm steady voice and her precious words were such an anchor in my grief as she was breaking the dreadful news to me. Susan, I will forever cherish that phone conversation: despite your own anguish, you had extraordinarily meaningful words for me.

I last saw Christian in August. On the eve of catching my flight back to Tokyo, Isao and I visited him again at home. He offered Isao his globe of the world. Isao made several drawings for him sitting on the floor of his basement office. He had prepared the box and the padding for the globe, and helped me pack it up so that it would travel safely back with us to Tokyo. A treasure of our household, it now sits prominently in Isao's room, and teaches him the world.

His legacy lives on.

I have lost my mentor, my dearest friend - but my heart overflows with such gratitude for his imprint onto my life.

Mon Nounou, merci.

May the world resonate with your humanity until the end of time.

With love, Marisha