This text was published by Vimes in his blog Así habló Cicerón (Thus spoke Cicero) on March 13, the day after Terry Pratchett died. You can read the original post here.
Translation by @AliceNemi
My copy of Good Omens stares at me accusingly (1). I managed to get Gaiman’s signature during the last Book Fair. I can clearly recall thinking how wonderful it was, I was closer to having one of my favourite books signed by both authors, with whom I had had the immense honour of shaking hands, and thanking them for so many good times. It wasn’t so difficult in my head: a flight to the United Kingdom, and it would be done.
It’s not possible anymore.
Sir Terence David John Pratchett has left us, the Master, the Man in the Hat. The man who has made me laugh out loud in public transportation. The man whose novels have comforted me in times of bitterness. The man whose human sense and deep ethical conscience have given me goosebumps. He left peacefully, at his home, with his cat sleeping at his feet, after years of fight against Alzheimer’s disease. In March, when the lilacs are about to bloom.
Terry Pratchett came into in my life when I was very young. Someone, probably an adult who didn’t know me very well, gave me Equal Rites out of obligation when I was around 9 or 10. I remember reading it and feeling that I wasn’t taking the most out of it, that it was beyond my reach. Years later, Only you can save mankind also went by quite unmarked. But in my 2nd year of high school I came across the three Nome books… and everything changed.
When my world was sinking around me, when the adults around me miserably failed at giving me affection, support, and understanding, in the middle of my teenage years, when I felt alone and incapable of socialising, Pratchett was my hideout. There was humour, of course. But also the deep ethical condition behind, the tenacious will to do the right things shown by characters like Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, or Death itself… despite still being amazingly human, weak and lost. That gave me hope and strength, it showed me that there was something else, it encouraged me.
At the end of 2013 my father died. I didn’t mourn him: he wasn’t a loss at all in my life. The same thing happened when two of my four grandparents died. Today I mourned Terry Pratchett. Because he did more for my moral education than any of the people who should have done that task. “We are here and it is now”. Didactilos said so at the Ephebian Library, Vimes said so in the past… and I have used it to cope with anxiety crisis. You have to focus in the work you have in front of you.
Terry Pratchett has died, but he leaves us a better world. I want to think that, after reading one of his novels, everyone comes out a bit more thoughtful, more empathetic, and wiser. Maybe it’s too much to ask for. Anyway, I don’t want to picture him in a desert, led by Death. Because there is no afterlife, gods don’t exist. Om won’t be coming to save us, nor will he stop any battle in extremis. There is no “next life” where we can be happy: we have to put all of our efforts into being happy in this one.
There will be no more Discworld novels. We won’t read any more new adventures about Vimes, Angua, Vetinari, Granny, Carrot, Nanny, Rincewind, or Susan. Accepting it is a serious blow to a fan: What we have now is all there will ever be. But we must not cry. We don’t have the time to do so. Sir Terry Pratchett left us a job: be good, leave the world like you found it, do what must be done, and never treat people like things, because that is the first sin.
We can do it.
We are here and it is now.
The turtle moves.
(1) Right, a book is not supposed to be able to stare, but neither can a trunk and the Luggage managed to do it.