To watch: Terry Pratchett – Back In Black
I just watched the BBC drama doc “Terry Pratchett – Back In Black“.
And I appear to have something in my eye that’s making writing this rather tough. But although the something in my eye is bothering me, there’s still a delightful smile all over my face, and an anger I want to share.
As some have said, this was Terry defeating Death for one night. But he didn’t, he simply loomed over the drama, a spectacularly positive, brilliantly angry, magnificent and incredible presence, someone whose words touched lives, changed lives.
All involved should be damn proud to have been part of this, they should cry and laugh and then get down to work again. Because although Pratchett’s legacy lives on with his words, we let him down in the end. Pratchett was a passionate campaigner for the right to die, and yet in the end, he didn’t have that. And shame on those who have the power to shape laws, shame on them that they would think so little of us that we do not have the simplest of things, the right to die.
When I was 14 or thereabouts I saw my father cry for the first time as we took his beloved dog, Mopsa (English teacher, named his dog after a Shakespeare character) to be put down. She was 16, her kidneys were failing, she was in constant pain from her joints. So he did the bravest thing I ever saw him do till that point, he agreed with the vet when the vet told him it would be a mercy.
But before that, when I was 12 or thereabouts I watched my mom go through the agony of watching her mother develop Alzheimer’s. And years later, when my mother told me that she never wanted to go through that, that she’d rather someone put a pillow over her face, I knew she meant that. But sadly, things aren’t that simple. So instead of this proud, strong woman having control over her life when she did develop Alzheimer’s a few years ago now, we had to watch her succumb to the thing she feared the most.
And just like Terry Pratchett, we let my mom down, just as we let every single person who is going through impossible suffering down when we don’t listen to their reasoned, sensible, completely rational wish to have the power to end their own lives. And yes, it will lead to difficult debates and some very hard choices. But so does life. And we manage that just fine. Maybe we need to start managing death as well.
You have until the 7th March to watch this beautiful, heartrending, magnificent, uplifting piece of TV. Do it.
Now you’ll have to excuse me, I have to wipe my eyes again. And then I’m off to write my MP to point out that my right to die is something I want to have, at the time of my choosing. Maybe, just maybe in the arms of those I love, a Gin & Tonic and a cigar in my hand.