…if not the care of the reaper man?

It was this sentence that got me hooked on Terry Pratchett, nearly fifteen years ago. Other sentences followed, paragraphs and pages of brilliant wit, of a razor sharp intellect, the writings of a man who took his anger and created something beautiful with it.

Terry Pratchett wrote comedy – hilarious, truly funny comedy. That is already a very difficult thing to do, but he also wrote some of the most serious comedy I ever read; especially in writing on death and loss, he was able to make me laugh and cry at the same time. And he did all that in a genre that is more often than not frowned upon by the grown-ups.

The Discworld, this silly little fantasy world, was one of the most polished mirrors of the world we live in ever conceived. It was and is much needed, and though it can’t grow anymore, it will live on, I hope – with the help of friends who recommend Terry’s books, of parents who read them to their children, of readers with fond memories who pick them up again after years and discover something new in them, and themselves.

It is not easy to write about the death of someone I never met, and it is strange to feel so sad about this loss. The price of our new social connections is that we sometimes feel closer to people than we actually are, and the sadness of Neil Gaiman, the strength of Rhianna Pratchett, the grief of millions of others who simply loved his books, just as I did, is something that hits so much harder in today’s world.

It is also less lonely.

When Terry Pratchett was knighted, the motto he chose was Noli Timere Messorem. Don’t fear the reaper. I try, Terry, and I try to pass on this lesson. Thank you for it, and for a thousand other words, for moments of joy and sorrow, and for sharing your wisdom. It will be missed.

Goodbye, Sir Terence David John Pratchett. I hope he took good care of you.

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