‘It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.’
Last week I finished reading The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy and I felt the loss of that rascal Finty. When I got to the last page and closed the book, I missed her dearly. I feel like I should wear a floppy hat in her honor.
Saturday I learned that Lisa Bonchek Adams had died and I wanted to sit quietly for awhile and take in what this meant. How her family and friends must be grieving. How I would miss the tweets everyday that reminded me to persevere and in my lowest moments those words lifted me a little. I had somehow wandered into this community of peoples’ lives that she touched and I experienced a strange sort of belonging. Now I’m left contemplating how (or why) I would grieve for someone I’ve never met. I wish sometimes I could just experience those emotions and not analyze them.
Then today the worst news happened. Though we had been bracing ourselves since we learned that he was ill, I think we all hoped there would be a way that he could beat it. Sadly, Terry Pratchett passed away today at the age of 66. Since I just spent the weekend in the company of an amazing 66 year old I know first hand how young he truly was.
Most likely it was his imagination that kept him so youthful and endearing to so many fans. Sir Terry P has been a part of our home for many, many years. M started reading him when T was quite young. He tore through most everything he had written one after the other. In fact one day T, aged 8 or so, asked why M was always reading the same book. It wasn’t until I realized that the author’s name was so large and the title much smaller that I saw how his little boy self could have made that mistake. A few years later T sampled his own book and then he never looked back. Now they’ve each read all of them, several times over. They have favorite passages, some they cannot help but read aloud to any person within hearing. distance. It has given them a secret language, a lexicon I am only mildly familiar with. I have often been compared to the librarian orangutan and somehow this silly little reference has become part of what I love about this family we’ve created.
After we moved to this house 11 years ago, T and I bought M a small, black bunny. He promptly named her Cheery Littlebottom and when we got a 2 year old rescue bunny 3 years ago who came with the name Misty. We changed it to Miss T, short for miss Perspicacia Tick, there wasn’t even much of a discussion. Such is our devotion to Pratchett’s characters, there’s every possibility that if we had had a daughter we would have called her Tiffany. If she had been able to do magic— all the better. Perhaps when I am older my grandchildren will call me Nana, but if they are partial to Granny Weatherwax as a term of endearment, I will embrace my new moniker wholeheartedly.
I know he wrote many, many books, I have seen the space they occupy on our shelves; but I wish that there were more books to look forward to and anticipate. I can’t help but wonder at the books he didn’t write. Still, as one of my book friends reminded me today, by recommending his books to those kids who love wordplay and banter—and the idea of a flat world balanced on elephants, on top of a turtle— then there’s a magical experience waiting for them. A world beyond Harry and Percy. And once they enter there’s enough written to take them up through high school and beyond.
Sir Terry has been the kind of author people loved and adored. Tributes to him have been popping up all over the internet. T wrote his own little post and it surprised me to see how much his world was shaped by this author. I guess in some small way this is my own tribute, Thankful for a man who has given those I love such delight and pleasure over the years with each new book he wrote.
This week has been filled with highs and lows. Perhaps Sunday will be spent quietly enjoying life as it passes us by—book in hand, cup of tea at the ready. Abundantly grateful for those we’ve never met but who still have affected us so deeply.