It was around 1:30 in the morning on a Friday, Manila time, when I learned from my stepfather that one of my favorite writers, Sir Terry Pratchett, had died at the age of 66. The acclaimed author had succumbed to what he himself referred to as an “embuggerance”.
I went on to attend my early morning meeting with people in other time zones (the reason why I was awake at that hour in the first place). I didn’t get to cry until after 4 am.
It’s not that the death was unexpected. We – his fans – had known this was going to happen; Pratchett had openly discussed his early-onset Alzheimer’s ever since his diagnosis. But it was still heart-breaking, knowing that there will be no more new words, no more new worlds from him.
Still, I couldn’t say that there isn’t some measure of joy over the manner of his passing. Even though he didn’t go through assisted death (like he wanted), it looks like Death took him BEFORE the aforementioned embuggerance took his mind completely.
It’s as if his own version of Death had ensured that Sir Terry, in a way, WON his fight against the condition that threatened to destroy everything that he knew himself to be.
Over the weekend, there have been many tributes to this great man (my favorite being the GNU Terry Pratchett tribute) from talented and dedicated fans.
In my family, it was a little bit quieter.
My Dad dug up some favorite peripheral Discworld books – such as The Art of Discworld – and I picked up the very first Pratchett book I had ever read: Maskerade, a satire of opera and parody of one of my favorite musicals “Phantom of the Opera”.
My stepdad posted on Facebook that if he had been a Discworld character, he would have been Rob Anybody (I responded to this by saying that I’d probably be Susan – not because she’s badass, but because I can be a bit of a schoolmarm).
This man’s brilliance will never die, and not just because his books immortalized the mind he so valued. It’s because these same books sparked something in his fans, a flicker of of magic ignited by his deft headology (admit it, he used it on us!).
Thank you for all this, Sir Terry.