So I’m dead. That’s not so bad, at least, not for me. I do not want to diminish your grief. I wish I could comfort you all, I hate the idea that my death is hurting you. But, for me, it’s not so bad. I have done as much as I possibly could do and died with a smile. Satisfied. I died like myself, like Garmt, the man I am. Used to be.

It has been quite a luxurious death. I had been dying for weeks. My head ached while life was gradually slipping out. With every farewell I died a little. As every day dawned I gave up a part of the fight. It is a beautiful way to (let) go. I could almost fly with all the feathers I have received in the last few weeks (shoved up my ass). With all the love and so many loved ones surrounding me while dying, for years already, I have been permitted an exceptional luxury.

My message, the one I want the whole world to hear is quite clear, isn’t it? No? Then just buy my book! Ha ha! Okay then, here are a few last tips – apart from the fact that everyone must live and die just like me, damn it.

  • Buy the most expensive speakers you can afford – seriously.
  • Loving yourself is empty of meaning if you don’t learn to balance it, by being tough on yourself too.
  • I have learnt recently from Iris that there are some things you must learn to ‘let go’. Pick your battles and don’t hold grudges. Please try to learn this quicker than I did.
  • Don’t scratch your balls if you have been cutting up red peppers. This is something I can’t repeat often enough.
  • Learn to listen. “Everything” will give you an answer if you listen well.
  • Do as I do, or actually don’t. Discover who you really are and then be yourself.

I pick a few names from the endless list of those to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude.

First of all, Iris. It is difficult to imagine how you kept on going. Through it all, we managed to stay faithful to each other, in our own way, a way that even we ourselves did not always quite understand. I am so amazingly grateful that Zoë will grow up with you by her side. It is a wonderful thing that we found each other and that we stayed together. I am with you still.

I was a pain in the ass for the health system. Worse still, I was actually proud of that. For example, the rehabilitation specialist had to call me to order when once again, I accused a well-meaning dietician of being like Hitler. Sorry.
The combination of euthanasia and organ donations was not yet practiced in this province. So an obstinate paralysed professional critic was indeed a fine first opportunity for the hospital, wasn’t it? The complexity of the whole operation was almost unimaginable. The full team of specialists in the UMCU and everybody working with them, deserve my profound thanks for making possible my last wish. Thank you so very much. The two doctors who monitored my care at home gave me a service beyond price. Thank you, Inge. Thank you, Irene.

ALS, I wish you’ll drop dead and I know you feel the pain of my kick in your balls. You’ve taken my future, you caused only pain to those whom I love and you robbed my family. You are a bastard and you will die, eventually.  And yet, and also… Thanks for your inspiration and the fight. Thank you for your guts to stand up to me. Thank you for what you brought out in me and thank you for the luxurious death.

Zoë, without your love I could not have coped for so long. Iris, I love you.

My love and light remain. Just feel, take a look. I’m still there. Thank you.


Aerosmith, Get a Grip, 1993

From: Garmt@Accenture
Sent: October, 2017 3:46 AM
To: EveryoneIknow@Accenture
Subject: I’m finally leaving Accenture


Like so many others, it’s time for me to send you a note that I’m off to a different place. Like some leavers, I have no idea where I’ll go next. We simply don’t know what comes after death. Science has little data on this particular topic! Anyway, you have guessed by now that I meant it when I said I would work for this company for the rest of my life.

I came to learn. I viewed it a bit like a stint in the corporate army, where I would be properly trained for a few years, pass or fail the exam of becoming MD and thus find out what I was really worth.

It didn’t turn out that way. Instead of a corporate army I found a home, the first job after ten years with three previous employers, where I could just be myself. You can’t imagine the feeling of freedom I found. And yes, I got to learn everything I wanted. I even once got to screw up an important project without getting fired (sorry KPN). The exam I had expected came in a different form. Instead of playing the promotion roulette, Accenture gave me total freedom and the whole company to throw at the disease that ate me alive. I think that challenge, of what to do with that freedom and the whole company, was an exam. I think I passed.

You know you all have the same challenge, right? Your degree of freedom may be different, but that’s a mere detail.

Time to get sappy. Colleagues are not like family. I can quit being your co-worker but I can’t quite quit from my siblings or parents. Yet, at times we spend more time with our project team than with our spouse (said Nick Cave to bandmate Warren Ellis, `I’ve had more meals with you than my wife´). I was closer to some of you than someone who just shares my last name. We shared passion, commitment, extra hours and much more. Sometimes we shared love, for Accenture’s IT Operating Model (ITOM), I think, or for business development or for something really important like ITOM, or for each other. If I imagine my family, there are quite a few (ex-)colleagues amongst the Van Soest, Da Costa, Van Den Bosch and Werksma’s. Colleagues can be like family.

At the end of your life, all you have left is what you have given. When the end comes for you, you’ll have given me a lot. Thank you.

All the best, maybe see you at one last Friday Afternoon Drink, right after my funeral this Friday 27 / 10.

Garmt van Soest

Senior Manager
Accenture Strategy
“Kicking ALS in the balls”

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead