Vale Sir Terry Pratchett
Knowing that someone is going to die doesn’t really make it any easier to accept their death.
After all, we’re all going to die.
Knowing that someone is living with a terminal condition may make us rail against the injustice of it, but it doesn’t really make their death any more acceptable.
But we already know that life’s not fair.
Eight years ago, the incredibly talented, prolific fantasy author Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. His family and friends rallied. His fans despaired. Mr Pratchett called it an ’embuggerance’ and got on with writing, with promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and with campaigning for the legalisation of euthanasia. He finished his final novel last year.
Now, at the age of 66, he has “left early, to avoid the rush”.
Having often written about Death, as a character in his Discworld series, Sir Terry’s death was announced on his Twitter account yesterday in a series of three posts, the first, in capitals, being a quote attributable to Death.
“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.”
“Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and onto the black desert under the endless night.”
He is survived by his wife and daughter, and he leaves a legacy of more than 70 books, translated into 37 languages.
More than that, he has inspired millions of readers to a love of reading as they enjoyed his wordplay, wit, soaring imagination and satire.
He has also inspired many other authors who have responded to his death with sadness, and with acknowledgements of the genius behind his creative output.
He was an avowed bibliophile, quoted as saying “If you have enough book space, I don’t want to talk to you.”
Any good library, book store, or, indeed, book case will contain at least a couple of Sir Terry Pratchett’s books – you can borrow one of ours, read it and salute an exceptional author who said that “stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” In Reaper Man he wrote “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”
I hope that the books he gave us, gifts from his imagination, continue to cause ripples forever.
(Image from https://www.facebook.com/pratchett)