Friday, March 13, 2015

The Loss of Terry Pratchett


It has been a day since the passing of Terry Pratchett, and I’m still saddened by it. It’s a strange feeling, because I have never been one to dwell on sorrow of deaths. Instead of mourning, I am of the group that chooses to celebrate the life of the person and the things they’ve accomplished in their short time on this blue marble of ours. But with Pratchett, it was different.

At first, I thought it was because he was such a big part of my life. As a kid, I grew up getting lost in his books. In university, I studied and wrote about them. After graduation, I imitated them until I found my own voice. To say his work has shaped my life to what it is today would be an understatement. But that should be a cause for celebration and reflection on his life being well lived, not for sorrow.

No, I think the reason why his death has affected me more than any other death outside of immediate friends and family members is because he was so prolific. Having written seventy odd books, his library of work could actually fill a small library. He was writing an average of two books a year, weaving well-crafted tales into the gorgeous world he’s built on the back of a giant space turtle. Few fantasy writers can compare to this, (please don’t leave us yet, Piers Anthony) and herein lays the reason for my sadness.

The last books I read of his.

I am but one of many millions who were touched by Terry Pratchett’s writing. His brilliant observations about human nature and existence simply inspire and makes us view the world a little closer. His forty Discworldbooks are filled with so many relatable anecdotes and absolute truths that anyone who reads them can’t help but be delighted by the wit of it all. And that is what makes me sad.

The Alzheimer's disease that has claimed him has deprived the world of so many future insights not yet written. At 66, it feels odd to say he was taken well before his time, but it’s true, for he had at least thirty more books in him. Thirty more books neither we nor future generations will ever get to read and be inspired by. And that utterly breaks my heart.    

But he will live on, though. As a testament to his wit and wisdom, his eulogy was already written in his work through the many musings on the preciousness of existence and the inevitability of death. The one that encapsulates his life the most?

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...”― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

Rest in peace, Sir Terry Pratchett.