Eight months, almost to the day, after the world said a heartbroken farewell to Sir Terry Pratchett, and we are still quite devastated by his passing, still coming to terms with the immensity of our loss.
Never before in my life have I felt such momentous, overwhelming, heart-aching, tear-shedding grief at the death of someone I never met. To this day, I feel as though the man who died on March 12, 2015, was not a famous writer, an influential and extraordinary author to whom we are all indebted for the magnificent writing he gave us–rather, I feel as though the man who died in March was my brother, father, grandfather: a man I knew and loved as my own family, and whose passing I still mourn, whose loss I still haven’t quite learned to cope with.
This autumn, we received the 41st, and final, novel in the Discworld series, starring one of Pratchett’s finest creations, Tiffany Aching. I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to read Shepherd’s Crown, and to be honest, even thinking about it is enough to choke me up. It feels too much like saying goodbye to Sir Terry all over again, and I can’t bring myself to do that. Reading Shepherd’s Crown is too much like accepting that he’s really gone: those words are the last he wrote. As a child, I loved watching an adaptation of Ludwig Bemelmens’ Madeline; the closing phrase comes back to me now, gentle as it ever was, but piercing in its truth and poignancy, as I look at my unopened copy of the final Discworld novel and remember, with tears rolling down my cheeks: “That’s all there is; there isn’t any more.”
Wherever you are, Sir Terry, please know that we miss you.