I just finished a book by Wendell Berry yesterday - "The Memory of Old Jack". In the end, as you would expect in a book of this title, Old Jack slips away:
"...even among them, he feels his mind coming to rest. A cool breath of air drifts down upon him out of the woods, and he hears a stirring of leaves. He no longer sees the stars. His fields drowse and stir like sleepers borne toward morning.
Last night, my dad, our Papaw, loosened his grip on life and ended his 12 year battle with Parkinson's to step into his rest. An awkward blend of emotions falls upon all his family who have been watching his struggle and who now feel depressed and relieved in the same moment.
These last few years we're tough for him and for those around him. Through it though, he stayed who he was, stubborn and loving, a blend of solitary truck driver and the life of the party. "Good morning my pretties, time to rise and shine!"
What I remember most from him while growing up was hearing repeatedly the phrase: "If it don't bleed, it don't hurt." Today I find that very untrue, though through most of my life it has been a maxim that has kept me pushing forward, no matter what. Really, what he meant was that you can have peace regardless of your circumstances which, in the light of this day, I find as utterly true as it was every time time I've heard it in the past.
Tears are falling this morning and may last a while, but in the end Papaw, you finished well and taught us all that even with a body ravaged with disease, one can find peace and be peace to those around you.