When I was in secondary school, I was looking for a book to fill my lunch hour, so just a short one, only about 600 pages or so, and a weird one jumped out at me. It was the start of a beautiful and obsessive friendship. Today, I felt a loss I haven’t felt in years. Sir Terry Pratchett died today, and I genuinely had to fight the tears. I failed.
Sir Terry Pratchett, creater of the Discworld series gave us an amazing world to look into. He gave me so many reasons to smile, gasp, cry and cheer. Whenever a new book was due out, it was easy to tell when, I would be in and out of book shops all day; before work, after work, during work, desperate to get my hands on the new one. Every new Discworld book bought would be proudly carried home, it was pointless anyone trying to get my attention. When a new one came out people would have a better chance of surviving if they kicked a bear in the bollocks than they would getting between me and my new Discworld book.
Alas, today, the great man himself died. A man who taught me to see miracles, and not just expect them to fall in my lap. To remember that humans have “in all the universe, with its wonders have created boredom”.
Sir Terry started the Discworld series in 1983 and went on to add another 39 volumes to its number. His book Snuff was the third fastest selling hard back adult book since records began, selling over 50,000 copies in three days. I don’t care who you are, that’s amazing. The Discworld series gave us a new perspective on a whole new world. The whole logic of a round world was made ridiculous, and it suddenly made sense. A spherical world is stupid, all the water would fall off the bottom.
He gave us the logic of running away, never to, always away, with Rincewind, a wizard so bad that the magical ability of the world would actually rise if he died. He gave us a Death with a human sense of logic, a Death that dreams of memories, he gave us music with rocks in, and we all knew. We knew that everything made sense, as long as we paid attention!
Sir Terry caused controversy when he declared that, having been diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer’s, he would go to Dignitas (the Swiss assisted suicide clinic) as he felt that his death should be his choice. He remained a supporter of Dignitas and their works, saying people deserved the right to choose their end. But it appears he never had the chance to make that choice, dying in his sleep at home, apparently with one of his beloved cats asleep on his chest. His twitter feed announced his death, with his own way of writing death, to sound as “tomb doors slamming shut” that AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.
While I, along with a huge number of other people, am heart broken about this, and I’m not ashamed to say I cried, at all, there is hope. Sir Terry is dead, (it strikes a new pain into my bones to even write that) but he is free. His mind is his own again, his confusion and pain is gone and he is free. Our loss is great, our pain feels like a real thing, sitting on our hearts like the unwelcome guest at a wedding leans into all the photos. But at least we ever had him at all, in that we were doubly blessed. Not only were we lucky enough to have his wit and wisdom in our lives, he chose to let us have it.
But our hope lives on in his daughter, who is, apparently, according Terry himself, ready to take the reins. But we must be patient, we must have a heart for his family. He felt like our family, but he was theirs, and their pain will be bigger and more vicious than ours. Like his very own bogeymen, we must cover our pain and impatience with a blanket and wait for it to calm down.
I thank you Sir Terry, you fixed my head as it needed fixing, fixed my heart as it needed fixing and made being a geek a little more acceptable to the masses. So long, take care, you must walk alone in the desert, but I imagine you will be welcomed into Deaths domain with open arms. Say hi to Albert for me.
Is it over? Can I carry on crying now?