My Dad was always my hero. When I was a little boy he was partners with my Grandfather in an animal feed business. That was during WW2, and there was a great demand for farm products. Dad made deliveries in a large truck, carrying countless 100 pound bags of feed into barns and hen houses. He was in fabulous shape and fiercely devoted to his family. In later years, after the demands of WW2 declined, he started another business and built it into a great success.
At the age of 50 his health began to fail, and in time he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My mother decided to keep him at home. I had a job out of state and got back to see them only sporadically.
After his funeral I asked my Mom about his final moments. She took my hand in hers and gently answered,
“It seemed as if all the pain he’d endured had left him. He was breathing heavily, and I asked him ‘George, are you in pain?’”
“No,” he whispered. He opened his eyes and looked up at the bedroom ceiling and sighed, “It’s beautiful.”
He closed his eyes and exhaled slowly, and then he was gone.
I cried when I heard the account of the father of my youth leaving and going somewhere else I can only guess about. When I was a youth he was a devoted trout fisherman, and taught me how to catch those wily creatures in their mountain stream homes. Perhaps, in those final moments, he was back there, casting flies into promising pools. Whatever he saw and experienced, it was beautiful for him. Good luck, my hero. May you catch the record-breaking grand daddy of all trout in your new home.