There’s always a final syllable.
Turn the page.
Nothing but white space.
The world painted by words ends in one final image. The characters are put in their places. The landscapes pause. There is no more.
You can attempt to imagine what comes next. Perhaps the author will return at some later date to continue the journey of one or more character, extending the existence of that world. But eventually, every story, every world, ends.
My grandfather died today.
His was a life of stories. He told them with a grin and an elbow. Sometimes they got repetitive, but he was never boring. Korean War vet. Undertaker. Fisherman. Woodworker. Joke teller.
And now his jokes end.
No more whittled masterpieces.
He will no longer prepare the dead for burial; instead, he is prepared.
And he will be honored one last time for his service to his nation.
All his stories have ended.
It’s so final. In these days of revivals and endless sequels and reboots, it’s hard to believe that there is no more. Can’t we move him to Netflix for another season? How about continuing his adventures in a novel? Maybe there will be a comic continuation!
But what might work for characters does not work for people. The worlds they contain in them, the stories they carry, are now dropped.
Grandpa is gone. His stories are gone.
The world has ended.
In a few days I’ll travel. I hope I get there in time for the viewing; it helps the mourning process so much to be able to say goodbye to a face and not a granite slab. And there I’ll see the eyes that once shone and the hands that once shaped wood.
And with a final goodbye, he will be lowered into the ground.
The story has ended.
But something cries out: This can’t be the end! There must be more!
Something cries out: This is not the last! Tell more of the story!
And the Creator of this world smiles. He is not done. Not yet.
He has written a new ending for my grandfather. In syllables etched on the palms of his hand, he crafts an ending that does not end in darkness but light. The Creator chose to face the end of his story on a cross, taking my grandfather’s end.
There is a new tale now.
It does not end in tears. It does not end in defeat. It does not end in a heart forever stilled.
It ends in laughter. It ends in victory. It ends with a heart beating again.
It ends, “And he lives happily ever after.”
Endless. No last page.
Enjoy heaven, Grandpa. Worship the Lamb. I’ll see you soon.