Like a lot of people, I was incredibly upset to hear that Terry Pratchett had died. More than I thought I would be, if I’m honest. I never met him, never knew him, but his death felt like I’d lost a friend, which felt ridiculous. I felt like I was intruding on the grief of the people who actually did know him, his family and friends. But when I thought I about it, I did know him, in a way. The way that all of his fans and readers knew him. It was okay to feel how I did. How I still do.
Terry Pratchett was a constant presence in my life from the age of thirteen. Like most of his fans, I can remember the first of his books that I read, which was Equal Rites. My English teacher leant it to me after I told her that I didn’t know what to read next, having finished reading all of Douglas Adams’ books. I think I read it all in one sitting, and by the end of the month I’d read The Colour Of Magic and The Light Fantastic too.
I ran through everything that the local library had pretty quickly, and bought the few books that I could afford. For many years it was a given that I’d get one of his books for Christmas, and I built up a small library of his books. A lot of my happiest memories are tied to them. I’ve had some dark times in my life, and one of the constants that helped me to get through it all were the Discworld books. No matter how bad it got, I could lose myself in Ankh-Morpork, visit the Ramtops, or go to stay at the Unseen University.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, despite never knowing him or speaking to him, Terry Pratchett made my life immeasurably better. He shaped my world, gave me comfort and helped to make me the person I am today. His words were his magic and he was undoubtedly a wizard, therefore I hope that Death did come for him personally, and they left together as old friends.
My life, and that of many others, is poorer for no longer having Terry Pratchett in it. But he won’t truly leave us. Not while his books still sit on the shelf, waiting to take us back out to where Great A’Tuin still swims, the rimfall sparkling amongst the stars. Thank you for everything, Sir Terry. You will be missed.