I had just finished an English conversation lesson last night about humour and had decided to go have a cup of tea with one of my students. We were talking about … of all things … some blood work I’ve had recently. Nothing earth-shaking of course … low Vitamin D count … a bit high on the bad cholesterol etc.
But I did let it slip … “darn, I rarely had health problems before I hit 58.”
And she replied: “Terry Pratchett started having his problems when he was 58 too!”
“WELL … I was so sorry when I heard of his problems, such a terrible thing to happen to such a brilliant man … but, really not quite the same thing!”
Thus we began to speak about Terry Pratchett and his wonderful verve and fantastic imagination. I remembered with a lesson we’d done a while back on him .. and his pride at being the “most pirated writer in the world.” Somehow, it hadn’t clicked that he’d passed on, until she said: “I’m so sorry he’s gone.”
“What???” was all I could say and she replied “I’m so sorry I thought you understood! He passed away today!”
There will doubtless be thousands of testimonials for this fantastic human being today … I’m sure there are already quite a few at the time of this writing.
I remembered when he first announced his being stricken by his ’embuggerance’ … a rare form of early Alzheimer’s disease in 2009. Both my Grandmother’s and my Aunt have had Alzheimer’s disease and it was like hearing that another dear relative had been stricken down by this terrible malady. I followed his brave campaign for dementia awareness and was struck with admiration as he kept on with his writing career all throughout the years.
It seems a terrible thing to say, but I’m happy for Terry that he never reached that stage of Alzheimer’s disease where he would have just been the living husk of himself .. and I’m also sure he was happier to have gone like this: “The author died at home, surrounded by his family, “with his cat sleeping on his bed”.
Here are his last words:
Don’t take too long in the black desert dear friend …
(Photo and tweets came from BBC News – Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66)